Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 085: The Railway Man (2014) and Broadway Idiot (2014) and Heaven Is for Real (2014)

Episode 085

Happy Mother’s Day! In Episode 085 of Movie Podcast Weekly, we are joined by a special guest who is also Jason’s mama — Phyllis Pyles! We’re also joined, momentarily, by William Rowan Jr. And of course, Karl and Josh … though, Andy was unable to join us. During this show, you’ll hear Feature Reviews of “The Railway Man,” “Broadway Idiot” and “Heaven Is for Real.” We also bring you Mini Reviews and some terrible tales from Karl’s real life. We think you’ll enjoy this very special Mother’s Day show. Thanks for listening!

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.

I. Intro
— Welcome Jason’s mom — Phyllis Pyles!
— Karl’s Really Bad Week

II. Mini Reviews:
Josh: The Dirties
Karl: TV shows on the bubble (Almost Human, Crisis, Hannibal)
Phyllis Pyles: Sling Blade, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
Jason: Grudge Match

III. Feature Review: BROADWAY IDIOT (2014)
Josh = 5 ( Avoid ) — unless you’re a huge Green Day fan
William Rowan Jr. = 4.5 ( Avoid ) — unless you’re a huge Green Day fan

IV. Feature Review: THE RAILWAY MAN (2014)
Jason = 4.5 ( Avoid )
Phyllis Pyles = 8 ( Rental )

V. Feature Review: HEAVEN IS FOR REAL (2014)
Phyllis Pyles = 7 ( Rental )

VI. Wrap-Up

We will be reviewing GODZILLA!

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Horror Movie Podcast Ep. 016: The Sacrament and Contracted and We Are What We Are and Lizzie Borden Took an Ax

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Special thanks goes out to singer-songwriter Frederick Ingram and the Blue Claw Philharmonic for the use of their music and the voice talents of Midnight Corey Graham from The Electric Chair Podcast, Willis Wheeler from the Terror Troop Podcast and Spike Real for their help with our recommendation segment intros.

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15 thoughts on “Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 085: The Railway Man (2014) and Broadway Idiot (2014) and Heaven Is for Real (2014)

  1. Speaking of Billy Bob Thornton, other than his role in Sling Blade, Ive never really given him much thought until recently with his role in the new TV series of Fargo. Billy Bob steals the show. The show is only 4 episodes in, but I was hooked right from the beginning. Its definitely worth checking out.

    • He is fantastic in Sling Blade and another great role of his was in the Sam Raimi directed A Simple Plan. It’s a slighly Coen-brothers-esque crime drama in a beautiful snowy setting also starring Bill Paxton, and an underrated gem in my opinion. If anyone hasn’t seen it I’d definitely recommend checking it out.

      • I know Jason is a huge fan of A Simple Plan. I like it okay. Very much like the premies and setting, but it goes a little wonky for me at times. Not sure if the others have seen it, but we should revisit it.

  2. Great Mother’s Day show, guys (and Mom)! So, on your Broadway Idiot segment, it was interesting to hear the opinions. I was able to see American Idiot when it came to Portland (Josh, we should grab a drink!). I was really impressed with the show! I think everyone should see it! I’m not a huge fan of Green Day, so I probably won’t check out the documentary since it sounds like it’s just a publicity film.

    • I guess I would be up for seeing American Idiot, but I wasn’t super-impressed from what I saw in the doc. I am a big Green Day fan, though. If you are interested in the behind-the-scenes of a play you liked, Broadway Idiot could still be worth a watch.

  3. Well this was another great listen and it was sweet of Jason to have his mum on the episode; she seemed like a very lovely and intelligent lady.

    Also this week is the first time I’ve realised that you guys across the pond have a totally different mothers day to us.

    As for stuff discussed in the episode: Hannibal is amazing and I truly hope it is allowed to continue. It is very gory (which is great in my book) but also incredibly well made in every respect; acting, direction, writing, music, design. It’s just a stunningly crafted show.

    And Sling Blade is a fantastic movie and these days it just doesn’t seem to get mentioned anywhere near as much as it deserves. I agree that towards the end it plays out in a rather predictable way but I honestly think that that doesn’t at all work to the films detriment. I’d rather it play out in an expected but beautiful way than an unpredictable but contrived way. I love a good mystery and a good twist but I think there’s also a place for films that just flow naturally without the obstruction of plot intricacies and narrative capriciousness.

    And finally I’d like to recommend a documentary to Jay as I know he’s a big fan of “The Devil and Daniel Johnston” (probably my all time favourite doc). This might not be quite as cinematic as “The Devil…” but I feel the subject matter is of a very similar nature. It’s called “In the Realms of the Unreal” and details the life and creations of another outsider artist named Henry Darger. This guys story is just so fascinating and sad and if you haven’t heard of him before I strongly recommend looking him up and watching this movie.

    – David

  4. NOT A COMMENT ABOUT EPISODE 85: Several weeks ago I went through a couple weeks’ lapse in my exercise habits that led to a lapse in my MPW listening habits, since I usually listen while exercising. So I’ve been binge listening and catching up for the past two weeks, as well as storing up several thoughts of my own. One of my favorite things about MPW is that every episode makes me think about whatever’s being discussed and I usually start responding to the conversation in my head. Sometimes I even blurt things out loud, usually while out for a run. (I’m more self-conscious at the gym.) Anyway, here are some random comments about recent episodes:

    Episode 79: What a wonderful episode. An MPW classic. I even enjoyed the discussion of “Song of the South.” (For what it’s worth, I’ve never actually seen the film despite being fairly familiar with the story, characters and music. That said, I found myself essentially in complete agreement with Josh. I love Jay and Karl to death, and I’m pretty sure I understand most of what they were trying to say … I just don’t agree.) The discussion of “Noah” solidified my resolve to get to a theater and give it a watch (soon). I’ve been interested all year, and now I’m really looking forward to it. And it was nice to finally get the scoop on “Broken Circle Breakdown.” (I love the hymn “Will the Circle Be Unbroken;” that clip alone had me interested in seeing the film.)

    Episode 82: Andy talking about how the ending of “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” didn’t meet his expectations brings up one of my favorite questions about storytelling in movies. Is it fair to knock a movie because the filmmakers told a different story than what I, the movie watcher, would have done with the same material? If I come to a movie with preformed and predigested expectations, then I think it’s a lot less fair to downgrade the film because it didn’t turn out like I hoped it would. But it sounds like Andy’s expectations mostly, if not entirely, emerged and evolved as he watched the movie (I know Jay and Josh recommended it strongly), and that’s a much more interesting conundrum, with more room for criticism. I also LOVED Andy’s snoring and Jay’s “14 minutes later” stinger. That was epic. I might have even listened to Andy snore for 14 minutes if that hadn’t been edited out. Tidbit for Jay: I never cut off the podcast before the very last note of Dave Eaton’s theme music has sounded. I listen to every second. I don’t know whether most listeners are that way, but I never say, “Eh, they’re just doing plugs now” and shut it off.

    Also: Sorry, Jay, but I just can’t agree about “The Notebook.” It’s a solid “meh” for me. It’s not nearly as bad as some Nicholas Sparks movies (of which I’ve seen four or five), but not much better than middle-of-the-road for romantic drama. And since you dropped the gauntlet at some point in one of the ensuing episodes, here’s a random, off-the-top-of-my-head list of 12 Movies That Are More Romantic (And Better Movies Overall) Than “The Notebook”: “Up,” “(500) Days of Summer,” “Once,” “Say Anything … ,” “The Empire Strikes Back,” “The Matrix,” “The Terminator,” “Stardust,” “About a Boy,” “The Last of the Mohicans,” “Sense and Sensibility” (Ang Lee/Emma Thompson version) and “Titanic.”

    Oh, and a final thought on Episode 82, Jason actually said this: “I think directors are important obviously, but does really *that* much ride on a director?” Josh and Andy somehow just blew right past that remark, but wow. I bet there’s an entire podcast in that one question.

    Episode 83: Jay, I’ve got your back on the “Harry Potter” movies. Fun books, not very good movies. In fact, surprisingly lame movies. I rate them as follows: Sorceror’s Stone – 4.5/10, Chamber of Secrets – 4, Prisoner of Azkaban – 9 (bless you, Alfonso Cuaron), Goblet of Fire – 5, Half-Blood Prince – 4, Deathly Hallows Part One – 1, Deathly Hallows Part Two – 6. I don’t think most of the lameness owes to Harry’s ineffectuality as a hero (though that’s an interesting point to raise), but I totally back you that they’re just not very good movies.

    Finally, to answer Josh’s hanging question: My favorite movie about a married couple in a committed, functional relationship is “The Incredibles.” And the marriage relationship is actually a key element of the story, not just window dressing for the characters. Good stuff. I thought of a few others, but “The Incredibles” is the movie you’re looking for. Another fantastic example that’s not from the realm of movies is the TV series “Friday Night Lights.” Football is a central element, of course, but the bedrock of the entire series (all five seasons of which are highly recommended, despite some thematic and conceptual wandering in the Season 2) is the committed, functional marriage between Eric and Tammy Taylor. Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton are both fantastic actors, and they’ve never been better in anything else they’ve done than in “Friday Night Lights.” One of my favorite TV shows ever (a 10/10 – Buy on the MPW scale), and a huge reason for that is the Coach-and-Tammy relationship. It never gets old or uninteresting, and the writers never resort to cheap theatrics to “spice things up.” (Plenty of theatrics among the younger cast members, but even they are generally treated thoughtfully and respectfully.)

    Also, I agree wholeheartedly with your endorsement of “Survivor: Cagayan.” One of the best seasons they’ve ever done, and a rock-solid illustration of why all-rookie seasons with no returning players are essential to the show. They’ve definitely had some dud seasons before with all-newcomer casts, but “Cagayan” is a fantastic reminder of how electrifying “Survivor” can be without being propped up by sure-thing past participants when you cast it with people who are actual fans of the game and think about gameplay.

    • Cody, always such great comments. We’ve missed you. And glad to help promote your healthy lifestyle! Haha.

      I totally agree with you about episode 79, one of my favorites, despite how painful it was in the moment. And I thought the Noah discussion was a lot of fun. Could have talked about it for hours. Let us know what you think!

      I’m finding that separating my own expectations is one of the hardest things to do in criticism. It is a real challenge. Also loved Andy’s snoring in episode 82.

      I appreciate the marriage movie recommendations. I will sit down with The Incredibles with marriage in mind and give Friday Night Lights another try (my wife is a big fan), but come on! I want a serious film for adults here, not a kids movie or a TV show about teens. Is there nothing in the market at all?! I find this frustrating.

      Man, oh, man! I love having a fellow Survivor fan among our listeners, especially one that is as well-versed in cinema and television as you. Helps my argument of respectability. I totally agree with you about bringing in fresh players. Trust the classic format, people! I like returnees too, but we need new blood. I thought Philippines was the perfect mix. I’m reserving my “one of the best” until I see the end of the season (I’m a couple of episodes behind right now), but I’m enjoying the subtle gameplay of Trish, the crazy gameplay of Tony, the solid gameplay from Spencer and Tasha, and the love of the game’s adventure from Woo. Not a Kass fan. Wish Cliff had lasted longer and Lindsey hadn’t given up. I thought LJ had the game in the bag. Looking forward to what should be an interesting conclusion. Hoping for a final 2, not final 3 (as rumored), though.

  5. Delightful episode. Your mom is well versed in film.
    One thing: If you go back to last week’s podcast I actually wrote a comment recommending The Dirties, I’m glad Josh got to see it though its great.

    The Dirties – 8/10 High-priority rental, streaming for free on Netflix
    Sling Blade – 10/10 Buy, One of my favorite movies of the 90’s.
    Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead – 9/10 Very good, albeit depressing thriller.
    Grudge Match – 4/10 Avoid, Saw this coming, still disappointed. Awful and features a terrible/ bizarre De Niro performance and a sleepy-looking Stallone.

    Also, just watched the Sacrament. I was very pleased with the film’s choices and I thought some of the scenes were memorable (the injection of poison into someone’s neck with the camera focused on this character for minutes is one that comes to mind). I particularly loved the guy who played ‘Father’. Great acting, tense movie. 8.5/10

    • B-Rye, I’m sorry I forgot to credit you with The Dirties recommendation. I had been meaning to watch it for awhile, but it was your post that reminded me of it’s existence. Thanks. Fun watch, even though I don’t rate it as highly as you. I think Jason might really enjoy it.

  6. Why do you spend so much time to review movies which you recommend to avoid? I’m listening to your show to speed up my movies picks because there is so much to choose from and I want to spend my time enjoying a good cinema. In this respect your show has an added value for me. However, if you spend your (and mine) valuable time on discussing why you hate a movie, then this is for me a wasted time which I never will be given back.

    • Michal,
      This question is absolutely brilliant! Seriously. One of my favorite questions ever written on the comment boards… If you don’t mind, I’d like to discuss your question in Ep. 087 (next week’s show) of MPW. Thanks for writing such a smart query.

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