Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 203: Hell or High Water (2016) and Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) and Ben-Hur (2016) and War Dogs (2016)

Episode 203 artwork

Welcome to the 403rd best movie podcast show on the Internet: Movie Podcast Weekly. This is Episode 203, where we bring you four Feature Reviews of Hell or High Water and Kubo and the Two Strings and Ben-Hur and War Dogs. In this show we also welcome back MPW listener and special guest Eric Herman (with a brief appearance by his daughters). We have a good time. Join us!

If you’re new to our show… Movie Podcast Weekly typically features four hosts — Jason, Andy, Karl and Geek Cast Ry — along with frequent guests. We give you our verdicts on at least one new movie release from the current year that’s currently playing in theaters, as well as several mini reviews of whatever we’ve been watching lately. New episodes release every single week!


I. Introduction
— E-mail from Leigh: Considering the Sequels Podcast
— E-mail from Noel
YouTube: The Frank & Walters – Stages
/Film article: Ferris Bueller Soundtrack
— Gandalf is not for sale
— No 2016 Ghostbusters sequel
— Kong: Skull Island trailer
— The Great Wall trailer
— The Last Descent trailer
— No Cinesift interviews at this time
— A Hologram for the King
— Awesome 8-year-old’s quote about Netflix: Sad but true
— The NEW Rogue One trailer (Yep. Still another Death Star plot.)

[ 0:23:11 ] II. Mini Reviews
Karl: Dazed and Confused
Jason: About Time, Courageous (2011)
Ryan: Scent of a Woman, Independence Day, Jurassic World, Tremors
Andy: Spotlight, Daddy’s Home, The Walk

III. New in Theaters This Past Weekend (Aug. 19, 2016):
War Dogs
Kubo and the Two Strings
Hell or High Water
Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV
The Devil’s Dolls
The People vs. Fritz Bauer
Mia Madre
Morris From America
Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World


Welcome special guest Eric Herman:
— Andyman
— Big Beard Geek Cast Ry
— Huddleston

[ 0:50:18 ] IV. Feature Review: HELL OR HIGH WATER (2016) with guest Eric Herman
Jason = 9.5 ( Theater / Buy it! / Must-See / Among Top 10 Best of 2016 )
Karl = 10 ( Theater / Buy it! )
Eric Herman = 9 ( Theater / Strong Rental )

[ 1:12:10 ] V. Feature Review: KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS (2016) with guest Eric Herman
Ryan = 10 ( Theater / Buy it! )
Eric Herman = 9 ( Theater / Buy it! )
Becca = 8.5 ( Theater / Buy it! )
Evee-2 = 8.5 ( Theater / Buy it! )

Plugs for Eric and Becca:
Check out Eric Herman’s website
And on YouTube
Becca on YouTube

[ 1:32:19 ] VI. Feature Review: BEN-HUR (2016)
Karl = 7.5 ( Theater / Buy it! )

[ 1:42:05 ] VII. Feature Review: WAR DOGS (2016)
Andy = 7.5 ( Theater / Rental )

VIII. Wrap-Up / Plugs / Ending
Thanks again to all of our listeners who support us on MPW and HMP. We truly appreciate you!
Jonathan W.
James W.
Joshua G.
Tony L.
Christian B.
Shane W.
Bonnie B.
Randy G.
Mario L.
His Dinner’s In the Oven!

Episode 204 where we’ll be reviewing “Don’t Breathe” and “Mechanic: Resurrection.” Join us!


— MPN Meetup (THIS IS HAPPENING!) — Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016 in Indiana. See the comments below for details!

We’ll be seeing “Blair Witch” together in the afternoon. Then we’ll continue our festivities here below:

O’Bryan’s Nine Irish Brothers Pub in West Lafayette, Indiana
On Facebook

Quoted from its website:
“Nine Irish Brothers in West Lafayette is a short walk from Wabash Landing, Purdue University, and downtown Lafayette, Ind. Parking is available in our parking lot and in the parking lot directly across Howard Avenue, via valet service (Thursday – Saturday evenings only), or at Wabash Landing. Nine Irish Brothers validates parking passes from Wabash Landing.”

119 Howard Avenue
West Lafayette, IN 47906

Contact MPW:
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Leave a comment in the show notes for this episode.

Ryan’s new Facebook page
Ry’s BIO
Ryan’s New Facebook Page
Ry’s flagship show: Geek Cast Live Podcast
DONATE here to facilitate the creation of more Geek content!
Blog: Geek Cast Live
Web site: Geek
Twitter: @GeekCastRy

Jason recommends supporting: Operation Underground Railroad

Listen to MPW:
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Josh’s links:
Hear Josh named as one of the Top 5 Up-and-Coming Directors on The Film Vault Podcast!
Twitter: @IcarusArts
Josh covers streaming movies on: Movie Stream Cast
Hear Josh on The SciFi Podcast
Hear Josh on Horror Movie Podcast

If you’re a Horror fan, listen to Jason and Josh on HORROR MOVIE PODCAST

We’d like to thank The Dave Eaton Element and Dave himself for the use of his music for our theme song. Buy Dave’s Eaton’s music:

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Thanks for listening, and join us again next week for Movie Podcast Weekly.

18 thoughts on “Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 203: Hell or High Water (2016) and Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) and Ben-Hur (2016) and War Dogs (2016)

  1. “The NEW Rogue One trailer (Yep. Still another Death Star plot.)”

    Come on Jay, it’s the same Death Star from A New Hope and the plot isn’t about trying to blow it up but trying to steal the plans. I mean it would be kind of hard to make a movie about a band of rebels stealing the Death Star plans without having the Death Star in it wouldn’t it? And sure you could argue that they could have made a movie about something else. But what? What else is a big enough deal in the Star Wars universe to build a story around that’s satisfyingly integral to the existing movies and hyperbolic enough to make for a dramatic war film plot? The Death Star is the A-Bomb of the Star Wars universe in that it’s creation changes the shape of the war entirely. Why wouldn’t there be more stories about something that galaxy-changing?

    I can definitely understand peoples criticisms regarding the Starkiller Base being another Death Star retread (although it doesn’t bother me too much because Force Awakens is great in spite of that) and I’d be happy never seeing another planet shaped super laser in any more of the upcoming sequels but I think to use this as a criticism against Rogue One is kind of silly. If someone made a prequel to Jurassic Park about the first attempts to grow dinosaurs would you complain “Yep, still another dinosaur plot”? The Death Star is such a huge axis around which Star Wars events orbit that there’s bound to me thousands of untold stories regarding it. And these side story movies are inherently going to need a lot of ties to the existing films in the series for them to work, especially when they’re featuring a whole new cast of characters. Isn’t it only logical that such films be made about the more dramatic galaxy-defining events in Star Wars? Or do we want to see a film about Uncle Owen’s daily routine as a moisture farmer? We’ve seen hundreds of movies about WW2 and they aren’t automatically terrible simply because they tread the same ground.

    Jay, I hope you haven’t already decided to hate this movie based on something so superficial and ultimately inconsequential to it’s quality. Especially considering Return of the Jedi is your favourite of the OT despite having the most egregious Death Star duplicate we’ve seen.

    • *This comment is rather meta as it takes the form of a complaint regarding an episode I’ve yet to listen to, entirely predicated on the show notes in which Jay once again brings up the Death Star.

      Stop bringing up the Death Star, Jay. Can’t we have a Star Wars discussion on MPW that doesn’t involve the Death Star!

    • Okay, I’m listening to the episode and now I’m really mad! Karl and Jay are being waaaay too dismissive of this movie already and Jay didn’t even watch the trailer!? (you should Jay, it looks great)

      Forget about the superficial presence of the Death Star and Rogue One absolutely DOES promise to be something new in the Star Wars universe. Have we ever seen a gritty, dirty-dozen style war/espionage film in that galaxy before? And regarding the lack of lightsabers being a bad thing: wait….I thought you guys just said you wanted something new? Make up your minds. Personally I saw enough lightsaber-porn in the shitty prequel trilogy to put me off them for good. Remember that in the OT “lightsabers” were just laser swords used by followers of an old religion. They weren’t put up on this revered pedestal and were nowhere near as integral to the plot or influential on the universe as something like a Death Star. Not to mention the fact that the coolest characters in these films have never used lightsabers anyway: compare the charisma of Han and Lando to the utterly lifeless, boring, monotonous prequel-era Jedi. A lightsaber does not an interesting character (or film) make. To be honest I feel like Rogue One is going to more new places by opting out of the Jedi vs Sith standard and showing us a story based around regular troops than whatever hypothetical movie you guys are suggesting that features lightsabers but no Death Star. In fact I already saw that movie. It was called The Phantom Menace. It was about freakin’ trade negotiations.

  2. And you guys are totally off the mark with Dazed and Confused as far as I’m concerned. That movie is absolutely a classic and it’s value is nothing to do with being “grandfathered in with people who saw it at the time”. Jay, you need to drop that whole “people only like this because they saw it when they were younger” narrative because it’s such a subjective issue that presuming as much is futile and so often it seems you use it regarding movies I personally didn’t see until relatively recently yet still thoroughly enjoyed. Sure the appeal of Dazed and Confused is somewhat predicated on nostalgia but that nostalgia isn’t for the time it was released when “our” sensitivities to quality control were theoretically less developed but for the bygone age of it’s lovingly recreated setting. I didn’t see this until sometime in the 2000’s and I loved it and I just revisited it a few weeks ago and I still love it. It’s a beautifully rendered, brilliantly acted and incredibly evocative period piece. Even though it offers us a window to a time when values and aesthetics were quite different it remains relatable in the way it expertly captures the converging breeziness and fleeting melodrama of youth. and I give it a solid 8.5/10.

      • David –
        I’ve been meaning to post my agreement with you for days now, but I just got the chance to sit down and compose it:

        Karl –
        To say, ‘There’s really no story’ as a criticism about Dazed and Confused, would be like me saying, ‘It’s really science-fiction’, as a criticism about Star Wars. That’s precisely the point: no fictional ‘Hollywood’ story – but rather, an unflinching look at what teenagers were really like in high school in the mid-70’s. It was – and still remains – the most realistic movie portrayal of high school kids of any era.

        J –
        You’re breaking my heart supporting Karl’s terrible opinion. Why do you want to make me hate-listen to MPW? :) I could launch into an extensive analysis in defense and support of Dazed and Confused, but instead I’ll just quote your hero’s (Roger Ebert) review (3 of 4 stars):

        “The film is art crossed with anthropology. It tells the painful underside of “American Graffiti.” … Linklater does not impose a plot on his material. “Dazed and Confused” is not about whether the hero gets the girl, or the nerd loses his virginity, or the bully gets beaten up. It doesn’t end in a tragic car crash, although it does end in some quiet moments of truth, which are not pressed too hard.

        The film’s real inspiration, I think, is to depict some high school kids from the 1970s with such unblinking attention that we will realize how romanticized most movie teenagers are.”

        In other words, it’s the anti-John Hughes-teenagers movie.

  3. J, I love the 2005 King Kong, but I think the Kong Island trailer looks great! Doesn’t give away too much, and looks pretty intense and well shot, and that cast is amazing. I’m excited for it.

    • Totally agree Eric. The “Kong Island” trailer was fantastic. I love the 70s Vietnam-era setting. It felt fresh and it looks intense. And yes, a great cast.

      And Jay, I don’t think this has anything to do with the Peter Jackson’s “King Kong” (which I love also–I’m with you on that Jay). This film is a reboot and I believe Kong is the size he is because they are looking to do a King Kong vs. Godzilla movie in the future.

      Anyway, I’m not a big Kong guy, but I was impressed by that trailer.

  4. Ryan, I loved loved loved Man on Wire, and also loved loved loved The Walk. Both things have their own feel and purpose, in the case of The Walk, to not merely report on what happened but put us there. One of my favorites from last year. 9.5

    Speaking of last year, I caught ENTOURAGE the other day on HBO. I’d never seen the series, and the reviews for the movie were pretty meh, but I enjoyed it okay. Fun view of trying to get a movie made in Hollywood, following an agent, an actor/director and their entourage of friends/family. Had a lot of cameos and some laughs, and was a good choice for a oh hey it happens to be coming on HBO right now thing to watch. 6.5

  5. I’m glad that Jason and Ry have finally come around on Jurassic World‘s blockbuster mediocrity. The only thing that’s worse than your original 9/10 ratings is that Jason still thinks Mad Max: Fury Road is just a 7/10.

    Really glad to hear that Karl will be at the meet-up. Hopefully Andy can show up, too.

  6. I didn’t want to say anything during the podcast recording itself, as we had gone on long enough, and this was already discussed in our pre-show conversation and seemed like it would have been a tangent, but I am legally required to give a plug for Hamilton after Karl’s comment. Karl said he doesn’t like hip-hop/rap and that’s why it turned him off. I’m not really a fan of hip-hop/rap, either, and yet I have been absolutely blown away by the Hamilton soundtrack.

    For one thing, there are many great *songs,* so it’s not just the rapping. Beautiful and powerful and poignant songs with incredible depth and drama and insight and humor. But also, after listening a few times, I started to appreciate the rapped parts in the sense of being more like dialogue. Hamilton is a completely sung-through musical (i.e., not a “book musical” with dialogue scenes), and a lot of the rapped parts provide what would be conversation and dialogue in other shows. And they are wonderfully clever and intricate in terms of the wordplay and meaning and character. It really is “America then, performed by America now,” and so I think the way the rapping is used here is very appropriate and mixes well with the songs.

    The show consistently brings me to tears with the impact it has… The glorious victory at Yorktown that secured our freedom, George Washington’s farewell address, the unimaginable death of Hamilton’s son, his existential monologue during the famous duel with Burr, Hamilton and Burr singing to their newborn children with hope and yearning for their new nation, the transcendent closing number describing the influence Hamilton had on the people he knew and the future of our country. These things and more are portrayed in a way that is so powerful and memorable.

    At the Tony Awards, someone said that Hamilton is one of the great works of art of all time. I agree. It’s that good.

    • I’ve just gotta weigh in here on “Hamilton”. First of all Eric, I loved that you used that piece for Karl’s tribute. It made me laugh and smile and maybe even cheer a little. And now. Y’all are going to be hearing about Hamilton forever, so you might as well give it a fair shot right now. It is truly one of the greatest pieces of art in our time. Listen to it straight through and give it the attention you would give an audiobook. By the time I got to the end there were tears. And now it’s basically All That I’m Geeking On.

        • And good advice, Jenifer, to listen like an audiobook. In my case, it did require some acclimation and focus. I’m a huge fan of musicals, so of course I’d heard the buzz about this last year, but initially the idea of it being all rapped (which turned out to be very untrue) seemed off-putting. But a friend got me the soundtrack for Christmas and I kind of tentatively gave it a chance about a month later.

          First time through… Hmm, interesting. Some really good songs. At least it’s not all rapping like I thought. That ending is pretty powerful. Eh, I suppose I’ll listen to this again.

          Second time through… Starting to sort out who’s who as far as the voices (might be good to read the lyrics along, but I typically listen when I drive, so that’s not recommended), and picking up some more of the nuances in the rapping/dialogue. Starting to clue in on some of the clever ways the show develops its themes, and appreciating some of the other songs that didn’t grab me the first time. Hmm, I really need to listen to this again sometime soon.

          Third time through… Holy %#*&, this is absolutely amazing!!!

          -fast forward-

          Fiftieth time through… This is still incredibly amazing!!!

          So please y’all, as Jenifer says, give it a fair shot. I say give it at least two full listens to really give it a fair shot.

          Plus, there will be a movie version someday, so you might as well have a heads up on what that’s all about.

          • Yup. Yup.

            First time through (1st half). Yeah. It’s good.
            First time through (2nd half). I’m on a bike ride and I’m not going home because I’m at the end and I’m crying riding around my neighborhood.

            Second time through; Starting to do research on the internet about the founding fathers and who’s who in this thing.

            Couple of months later. I’m driving everybody nuts talking about this thing all the time that nobody is all that interested in.

            And yeah. I’m gonna read all the lyrics this week.

            My best friend is going to see it in Chicago next month. So excited for her!!

            • I was going on a trip out east this past spring, passing near NYC, so I thought, I need to go see Hamilton! Cheapest possible ticket was $695. 😀

              My girls and I are going to San Francisco next year to see it (possibly to Seattle in January, but it’s only there for a week – San Fran for five months). Btw, my 11 yo daughter (Evee 2) knows probably 90% of the show. It never fails to amuse me to hear a very sweet, very white 11 yo girl totally busting out things from this show like the super fast Lafayette parts and the Jefferson-Hamilton rap battles.

              She in particular has totally geeked out on the show, and as you describe, it has fueled an interest (which school never really has) in learning all she can about that time of history.

  7. Watched two movies in the past days that I think had been “strong rentals” for you guys, so I strongly rented them.

    MONEY MONSTER was better than I thought. Some things did feel a bit forced or unrealistic, but I thought they did a good job of keeping it interesting. I give it a 7.5.

    EYE IN THE SKY is amazing! I wasn’t really that interested when I heard about this and saw a trailer last year, but wow, was I impressed. I love that it takes just one very specific incident (the surveillance of a small group terrorists who may be plotting a suicide bombing) and gives you a ton of depth surrounding that, showing the implications of the situation from several different perspectives (well, not from the terrorists themselves, which might have been interesting but probably would have cluttered things up). This is a great example of having people argue in a film, and having all of their viewpoints be smart and considered. We have Alan Rickman (RIP), Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul (in a great role that is different for him) and others, each giving a good effort on their character’s part in this. And it was mind-blowing to see the technology of things like horsefly video cameras. Yikes. A little bit slow out of the gate, and just a tiny bit melodramatic, but otherwise it’s terrific. I’ll probably buy this and will definitely watch again. 9.5

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