Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 071: Labor Day (2014) and Remembering Philip Seymour Hoffman

Welcome to a very somber episode of Movie Podcast Weekly. After hearing of the loss of Philip Seymour Hoffman and a disappointing Super Bowl, your hosts Jason Pyles and Karl Huddleston bring you an unusually pensive movie podcast. But we’ve still got some good films for you to check out. (Andy and Joshua were unable to join us this week, but they’ll return next Monday.)

Movie Podcast Weekly typically 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.

SHOW NOTES
I. Intro
— Quick thoughts on the Super Bowl

II. Remembering Philip Seymour Hoffman

III. Mini Reviews
Karl: Saving Mr. Banks, Drinking Buddies
Jason: Midnight Express, Breaking and Entering

IV. Feature Review: LABOR DAY (2014)
Jason: 5.5 ( Rental )

V. Specialty Recommendation Segments:

ROBOTIC ROMANCES WITH KARL HUDDLESTON:
Romance: Heroes (1977)

JAY OF THE DEAD’S CREEPS AND CRIME:
Crime: Very Bad Things (1998)

VI. 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!

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

20 thoughts on “Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 071: Labor Day (2014) and Remembering Philip Seymour Hoffman

  1. Guys, I was so sad this morning and I finally let it all out when I heard the intro to this show. I just balled my eyes out.

    Philip Seymour Hoffman was my favorite living actor and is now among my top 5 deceased actors. He truly is The Master.

    His range is incredible. To be able to go from the fierce Freddie in The Talented Mr. Ripley to the dopey Dustin in Twister to so still Father Flynn in Doubt … watch those three performances back to back and you will be shocked that these are all the same guy.

    Honorable mentions go to his small but memorable roles in The Big Lebowski and Charlie Wilson’s War. He could do funny. He could do intense.

    And then to go from this great character work to a lovable every-man leading man in something like State and Main.

    Great picks, both of you. I love The Savages as well. Jay, you forgot to mention that Phil’s character in Punch Drunk Love is from Provo, Utah! Karl, it is no wonder he isn’t one of you favorites when you haven’t seen so many of his best films!

    I was planning on listing my favorite performances, but I’d ending up listing 3/4 of his filmography. Even when he was in a bad film, he always gave a solid performance.

    The pathos and humanity that he brought to the majority of his roles is astounding. I felt a real connection to him, personally as well. His Doubt interview on Fresh Air with Terry Gross is the best insight into the man I’ve heard and I just love him. I can completely relate to the way he was raised and the professional life he’s lived.

    My biggest selfish regrets are that his last film will be the stupid Hunger Games and that I will never be able to cast him in the role I wrote for him and have been working toward as my primary goal in my professional life. I thought I had another good 10 years to cast him and I’m so sad for the 20 years of excellent films we’ll never get to see.

    • Josh,
      Loved what you wrote, Brother. I guess now that we’re approaching middle age, we’ll have to get used to losing those that we looked up to who were our peers or our seniors. Right? I mean, I think everybody has to adjust to the part of life when their classmates start checking out around them. We’re not quite there yet, but those 20 years ahead of us sure are.

      Anyway, I keenly understood the regret that you spoke of… It makes me sick that I’ve lived in Utah since 2002 — and could have met Roger Ebert easily at Sundance any number of times — but didn’t. Too late. I hate that.

      Yeah, I have a screenplay I’ve worked on for about 5 years that was written with Ethan Hawke in mind, but he only keeps getting older with every year I don’t finish it…

    • For me, Philip Seymour Hoffman will always be Lester Bangs in “Almost Famous.” I loved him in “The Master,” and that will probably stand in my memory as his final acting triumph, but he just nailed the Lester Bangs part so thoroughly. It’s a small role that leaves a huge impression. Lester’s phone pep talk to William Miller is just pure movie awesomeness. “The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we’re uncool.” And, “My advice to you. I know you think those guys are your friends. You wanna be a true friend to them? Be honest, and unmerciful.”

      And also: “What, are you like the star of your school?” “They hate me.” “You’ll meet them all again on their long journey to the middle.”

      Agree with Karl about “Charlie Wilson’s War,” too. Another small(-ish) role that looms large because of Hoffman’s terrific acting. I’ve always loved that his character in that movie is named “Gust.” Totally captures the essence of that moment where he huffs and puffs and just blows pre-“Mad Men” John Slattery off the screen.

    • Yes, but only 51% of the audience liked it. Rotten.

      And I think that is the problem with putting stars in a mumblecore film, or really any indie film … the general audiences those stars attract don’t know what to make of the movies.

      Curious to hear your thoughts. I’ll leave my DRINKING BUDDIES review on the next episode I’m on.

      • Interesting! And I’m looking forward to that. I don’t know when I’m going to watch it myself.

        Did Jay tell you what I said about Upstream Color in the voicemail I sent? That movie blew my mind! The so called ‘nonsense’ in the dreamlike narrative caused my logic center to shut down. It just gave for a bit. Because of that, the story bypassed my usual thinking patterns and caused me to feel emotion as strongly as I would in a dream. You know how when a dream makes no sense but you feel everything VERY strongly? It was like that. The impact was powerful and the film altered my perception for a couple of days afterwards. I was sensing color and sound more than usual and the typical thought noise in my head was GONE.

        It came back, of course. I’ve watched the film twice now and I think I may have to take a regular dose of it. It was like a filmic LSD-Roofie slipped into my eyeballs.

        • Oops. Just noticed that I brought this up on LAST week’s episode post.

          Now I need a movie that improves my memory.

  2. Devin Sawa is Stan in the Eminem video and the lead in Final Destination.

    The downer of P.L. travers real life is what makes the crankiness okay. I loved Saving Mr. Banks and I think it will only make Mary Poppins feel more important.

    • I agree with Hammer.

      I also personally found Travers very entertaining as portrayed by Emma Thompson. And it’s no wonder to me that someone who poured their heart out in some very personal books didn’t want their life’s work turned into a stupid cartoon with dancing penguins. And I think Walt was a much bigger a-hole in real life than is depicted in the film. Still, I liked everything about the movie, it prompted me to purchase the documentary, THE BOYS, Disney’s MARY POPPINS, and Travers’ first book (which my wife is now reading to our kids at bedtime).

      There are a lot of people who have a problem with the portrayal of Travers, who think she was unfairly treated by the filmmakers. I posted these articles on the comment board when I first reviewed BANKS on episode 66, but maybe they are of more interest now that people are catching up with the film:

      First, from Slate by Aisha Harris, a brief investigation into the historicity of SAVING MR. BANKS: http://bitly.com/1cO5SzM Then, from Salon by Laura Miller, a critical eye on the representation of the MARY POPPINS author in BANKS: http://bit.ly/18UOg9u And finally, from the LA Times by Rebecca Keegan, an article in which the BANKS filmmakers defend some the film’s questionable historicity: http://lat.ms/1k1YHgB

      • I thought the clip at the end with Travers discussing the Banks house pretty much gave us a glimpse that the way Travers was depicted wasn’t entirely accurate. I’m sure she was exaggerated for effect which is to be expected. I also agree that Disney was probably not quite as wholesome as depicted, but it’s Walt Disney in a Disney film, what would one expect? But, having said that, I think there’s a parallel to be drawn between Travers father’s carefree almost Disney-esque behavior around his daughter in the beginning of the film and the Walt Disney character. We see Travers decline Disney’s offer of alcohol on a few occasions, one could reason that Disney might have had demons at home that didn’t show up yet at work.

  3. Just watched Escape Plan. Really Jay? I bet Grudge Match was better. I read a critic who said that Sly and Arny could have played these same roles 20 years ago and meant it as a compliment, meaning that the film isn’t filled with nods to the past or making the characters parodies of themselves. If these two actors are going to make a film like Escape Plan, there’s no reason for them to be anything but parodies of themselves. If they’re going to play it straight, almost anyone would have been better for the parts. But that’s a minor complaint. The real complaint is how ridiculous the whole thing is. How can you pan Now You See Me, but praise this? That film was way more fun and probably even less ridiculous. This film is a 4, Now You See Me is a 7.

    • Hammer,
      When did you start hating movies? If you listened to my review in Ep. 056, you’ll hear that I said most of the things you’ve written here. I love the way “Escape Plan” was made like a straight-on (dumb) ’80s action movie, where the two leads play it like it’s real, instead of parody. We are inundated with tongue-in-cheek, self-referential parodies, and I’m sick of that. Escape Plan is a fun, dumb, guilty pleasure action flick for people who loved watching Sy and Arnold’s old-school action fare from the ’80s.

      Levi, where are you? Back me up.

      JP

      • I don’t hate movies. Just bad ones. Now You See Me is way better. I’d really rather watch a Jean-Claude Van Damme film than Schwartzenegger. You have Escape Plan more than American Hustle. I know you say you can’t compare ratings like that, but c’mon man!

        • See? My rating scale works again! I would truly rather watch “Escape Plan” than “American Hustle.” Sure, “AH” is a better film, but “EP” is far more entertaining. Rating scale works!

      • I’m here, and it’s in the mail for this weekend.

        I love Sly and Arnold and I can’t wait.

        • Levi,
          Don’t listen to that anarchist Jeff Hammer above… (Plus, he’s from Indiana…) ha ha. I know you love the cinema, Levi, and I think when you pop in “Escape Plane,” you’ll have a good, guilty pleasure time. You will smile your face off with Jim Caviezel’s over-the-top “quiet and understated” bad guy…
          Jason

          • Oh Jim Caviezel was good, I even liked 50 Cent but the film is just stupid. AH is better and more entertaining.

  4. Why do people insist on calling certain movies “guilty pleasures”? If you like a movie why is there a need to feel guilty about it? Can’t we just like movies, period? Anyway, I can’t wait for the next episode!

    Guys what’s your stance on anime? I’m a big anime fan and I’d love to hear y’all review anime movies in the future. Perhaps you can start with Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises? Sadly, it will be hist last film, but his son will hopefully be more than capable to continue his father’s legacy. Josh I’m pretty sure you’re a Miyazaki fan. What do you say?

    • I think this is a fair point, Juan, and I agree with you in spirit. But, for me, because I take cinema so seriously, it’s important for to note the difference between movies I “like” and movies “respect.” The guilt, I suppose, comes from knowing what quality is and what trash is. It’s like enjoying eating a Big Mac instead of a 5 star meal. But, I get your point and agree in my heart.

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