Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 226: Lion (2017) and Rings (2017)

Ep 226 - Lion 2017 and Rings 2017 poster art

The Most Offensive Family-Friendly Podcast braves another discussion about race, immigration and other hot-button topics in Episode 226 of Movie Podcast Weekly. We know, we know… but we got word that some people found some of the remarks made during Episode 223 offensive, so we wanted to address it as our resident night manager of 7-Eleven oversaw the proceedings. We hope all will listen (especially those who found Ep. 223 offensive).

We also bring you the regular business of Feature Reviews. This week we review Lion (2017) and Rings (2017). Additionally, you’ll hear our thoughts on the biggest football game of the year and we define the meaning of the phrase “Revenge Netflix.” Join us, unless you’re … chicken.

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!


SHOW NOTES:

I. Introduction
— Reflecting on the biggest football game of 2017
— Lady Gaga’s performance
— High-priced movie trailers
— Melissa McCarthy on SNL


[ 0:10:48 ] II. Movie Podcast Weekly on Race (and other sensitive topics)


[ 0:51:47 ] III. Mini Reviews
Karl: Taboo, The new “24,” Netflix genre add-on for Chrome browsers
Jason: Cafe Society, “Revenge Netflix,” Big Fan
Ryan: The Path, Black Sails, Book: Ready Player One
Andy: Sad story about “24,” Sicario, The Big Short, American Ultra, Patton Oswalt: Talking for Clapping


IV. New in Theaters This Past Weekend [ Friday, Feb. 3, 2017 ]:
Rings
The Space Between Us
Don’t Knock Twice
The Comedian
Royal Oats
I Am Not Your Negro
White Lie
Growing Up Smith
American Violence
Cadaver
Eloise
War on Everyone
Walk With Me
Wheeler
Youth in Oregon
Oklahoma City


FEATURE REVIEWS HAVE TIME STAMPS:

[ 1:28:08 ] V. Feature Review: LION (2017)
Jason = 10 ( See in theaters to support great cinema, Buy it! )


[ 1:35:36 ] VI. Feature Review: RINGS (2017)
Jason = 4 ( Avoid )


VII. Wrap-Up / Plugs / Ending
— 7-Eleven $5 Movie Contests:
E-mail your answers to these two questions below to MoviePodcastWeekly@gmail.com:
1. Where is Karl originally from?
2. Where is Karl’s soul from?


COMING UP ON MPW NEXT WEEK:
Episode 227 where we’ll be reviewing “John Wick: Chapter 2” and “The LEGO Batman Movie.” Join us!


LINKS FOR THIS EPISODE:

Contact MPW:
E-mail us: MoviePodcastWeekly@gmail.com.
Leave us a voicemail: (801) 382-8789.
Follow MPW on Twitter: @MovieCastWeekly
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 Harder.com
Facebook
Twitter: @GeekCastRy

Jason recommends supporting: Operation Underground Railroad

Listen to MPW:
Add MPW to your Stitcher playlist: Stitcher.com
MPW on iTunes
MPW’s RSS feed
Right-click to download the MPW 100 Rap

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: BandCamp.com

Ryan’s fake movie titles:
White Lie
Walk With Me
Cadaver
Royal Oats


If you like 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. (Every little bit helps!)

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


16 thoughts on “Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 226: Lion (2017) and Rings (2017)

  1. The race discussion was good. I’m glad you guys covered it. You handled it very well. For me, the result was a bit hit or miss, but I can see that it was well-intentioned.

    Andy was correct at the start that the co-hosts were in a difficult position in responding to an argument that was coming to them second-hand. And actually it was third-hand. So, unfortunately, that left you guys responding to a straw-man argument and that was less-than-productive. There was still plenty of quality content and a lot of important discussion that I’m glad you guys could work though. I found it productive as an audience member. I’m just not sure most of it actually responded to the issues that the listeners I spoke to had with the MPW Patriots Day review.

    I think the biggest missed connection here was the same one that Jason and I used to have when we’d discuss racism on (and off) the show. I think for a lot of people, the word “racist” simply equals “evil” and so, of course, nobody wants to be labeled that. But that’s not all it means. Racism is not just burning crosses on lawns, or whatever Karl thinks it is, and nobody, as far as I am aware, thinks that Jason is evil. Everyone would likely agree with Andy when he says that Jason “has a good heart.” Absolutely. I think you all do. That’s just not the point, though. At all.

    The point is that any bias which is based on race is racist. And that’s normal. And it’s okay when we are able to examine it and question it and confront it. It’s not okay when we keep it inside and then use it to fuel prejudiced thoughts or actions.

    Words absolutely matter. They reflect our thoughts and describe our intentions and actions. We have to care about the language that we use. If we are using words that have offended when it was not our intent, then we should be looking for ways to better articulate our intent. Language also evolves. Ask any etymologist. They update dictionaries for a reason. Let’s not be dinosaurs who still put people down with words like “retard” or “pussy” or “gay” any more than we would with words like “nigger” if we had grown up before the ’70s … or in West Virginia 😉

    I half agree with what Patton Oswalt said (although I think he goes a bit far in the second half to essentially let himself off the hook). I made nearly the same comments about PC culture in my Moana review. But I also think that the intention behind Political Correctness is important and we should be on the lookout to represent the historically disenfranchised in the way they choose.

    I also half agree with what David Chen (actually Dan Savage) said. It’s not precisely that we missed the real enemy because we were hung up on words, though I think that’s part of it. It’s also that we create a space for the enemy to grow in strength when we marginalize people who are different than us by not allowing for a safe place to exist where discussion can happen. The “enemy” – who, for me, is the white conservative male hahaha – was radicalized because they felt marginalized. We need to leave room for people to work out their feelings on these incredibly complex issues in the way that Jason did after connecting the religious prejudice he was feeling to his own religious background. That’s great! We should foster that kind of personal growth, not attack it.

    I think the best things said in this entire discussion were in Ryan’s closing statement and I can agree with that. If we want to get rid of the insidious effects of racism – or any prejudice – we need to be able to discuss these things in an open way.

    • I watched a (controversial, due to the personal life of the filmmaker) film this past week that dealt with some of these issues in a really effective way.

      BIRTH OF A NATION (2016) illustrates institutional racism better than anything I’ve ever seen. At first blush, it’s not much different from any other slave pictures from ROOTS (1977) to 12 YEARS A SLAVE (2013), but it very clearly shows how easy it is to become accustomed to prejudice.

      I’d love to hear Jason and Andy’s thought on it, in particular. I snagged it at RedBox, by the way, if you want to check it out.

      • Well said, Josh.

        I was curious to check out ‘Birth of a Nation’ when it was released last year and then I kind of forgot about it. I will get to that in the next couple of weeks; looking forward to watching it.

  2. As a listener, who is not sure what was said, this didn’t really clear anything up or really make a whole lot of sense. I went back to seek the offense and best I could figure it stems from the generalization of radicalized terrorists to all Muslims and Jason’s feelings of anger coming out of a film that covers an emotionally charged retelling of a national tragedy. For what its worth I think episode 223 showed growth and understanding and I thought Jason’s line of thought and conclusion was interesting. He tried to relate with his own experience relating to his faith, his church, and his words seemed genuine.

    Please don’t be afraid to wade into discussions of political and religious topics related to films in the future. This is the least controversial podcast show I’ve ever heard to be sure.

    P.S. Jason, I know the only hate you have is for cinema.

    Chow.

  3. “Jason, I know the only hate you have is for cinema.”

    Ah, there it is… Perhaps the most definitive single statement ever made about J. That should be his epitaph.

    JASON PYLES
    1976-2077
    LOVING HUSBAND, FATHER AND FRIEND
    THE ONLY HATE HE HAD WAS FOR THE CINEMA

    😀

  4. I second the recommendation, with Ryan, for Ready Player One.
    Definitely a high recommend for the book.
    Such a great novel, full of great memories of the greatest decade, the 1980’s.
    I say the greatest decade in context to popular culture.
    A very entertaining book and I have great faith in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation.

  5. I’ll fess up to being one of the “back-channel” complainers of the Patriots Day discussion. I debated whether or not it was worth mentioning here, but in the interest of keeping the conversation going, as Ryan mentioned on the show, I’ll dip my toe into the pool.

    Honestly, it’s hard for me to remember exactly what my issue was, but I think it mostly surrounded my surprise at the general lack of awareness of the real issue concerning the state of racism in the world today. To start, I never felt Jason’s story had any malicious intent, and his desire to discuss and better understand the situation is commendable. His honesty in sharing his feelings and personal growth during the movie itself is also very commendable. It takes a certain amount of courage to openly admit our shortcomings, and I thank you for the vulnerability you have shown.

    From my perspective, your LDS/RLDS example is only scratching the surface of the scope of the problem. You’re not necessarily missing the point, just not taking it far enough. This might be why past discussions of racism in media (i.e. London Has Fallen) were so easily swept under the carpet.

    Jason, in your Patriots Day epiphany, you took that first step of wondering what would happen if people started discriminating against all LDS members because of the extremist beliefs of RLDS members. However, I think a more accurate analogy of the current racist climate would be to extend that fear of discrimination to be against all Christians. Or, even further, to all white people.

    You might think I’m being hyperbolic, but I’ll explain with an example. I’ve shared on here before that I am in an inter-racial marriage: I am Italian (white), married to an Indian woman, and we have two mixed-race sons. My wife is a non-practicing Hindu with no “foreign” accent (she was born in Michigan). She is just as American as me. However, there is no mistaking the fact that she is treated differently than I am. The most glaring examples are whenever we travel. Almost without exception, she is “randomly selected” for special security checks, while I have never been stopped. And this problem is not isolated to the U.S., it’s worldwide. Once, we were passing through an airport in Paris, when I set off the metal detector, but was allowed to pass without any further security check. However, my wife, who did not set off the metal detector, was pulled aside for a pat down and extra questioning.

    She is not of Middle Eastern descent. She is not Muslim. The only commonality she has with this “targeted group” is the color of her skin. So while the current anti-Middle Eastern/anti-Muslim sentiment is problematic enough, the issue runs even deeper. This is why filmmakers should be mindful when depicting racially sensitive material on screen. It’s easy to brush it off as just being entertainment, but media is a part of our collective rhetoric. So when a network show like 24: Legacy begins with a Muslim killing a white family, it sends a very specific, almost propagandic message. That is reckless, in my opinion, and potentially very dangerous.

    I admit to being hyper-sensitive to this issue because of my particular circumstance. And I know how not having this experience yourself can really shelter you from the scope of the problem. It wasn’t until I started dating my wife sophomore year of college that I became aware of the racism that still pervades the world. This was just before 9/11, so you can say I had a crash course on how real, and how potentially dangerous, the problem is.

    As was mentioned on the show, you do not have these personal experiences to draw upon, and that’s something I need to keep in mind when the topic of racism arises. I know your intentions are well-meaning, and that’s a big part of the battle. It’s important to keep these conversations going, and your desire for personal growth, to engage in these conversations, is admirable. Apathy toward racism is really no different than the act of racism. In that sense, I think words matter because they’re a symptom of the real problem, which is apathy and/or ignorance. Simply believing that “you cannot give offense, offense can only be taken,” is missing the point (and, incidentally, is a symptom of personality disorder). This lack of empathy essentially passes responsibility on to the next person, turning a blind eye to the problem instead of trying to understand and fix the problem.

    But I hope that doesn’t make you gun shy when matters of racism arise on the show. Mistakes will happen; we don’t learn and grow without them. As long as your heart is in the right place.

    • That’s some good insight Dino and I feel like I have a better understanding of the uneasiness with the Patriots’ Day review. I think that one of the limitations of the podcast is that while generally the podcast navigates (race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexuality & et al.) issues pretty well, like lots of media, it does not have a diverse cast that can relate to minority groups, their struggles and discuss actual experiences and intersectionality. I think the hosts even mentioned that in their defense during this episode. I guess it is debatable whether that is problematic given that the podcast’s main purpose is entertainment. However, it seems that when discussing films that take on controversial issues such as race, religion, or sexuality the podcast could benefit from a guest host that could help navigate the film and discuss those aspects. That being said there are also podcasts that specifically discuss controversial films and their representation of different minority groups. So maybe in-depth analysis of intersectionality and minority problems doesn’t jive with the mission of Movie Podcast Weekly to review movies and be entertaining. Either way perspective and privilege can alter the message and atmosphere of a film, to be sure.

    • I’m late to the party, but I thought I’d chime in on a few things that come from a slightly different perspective than Dino or Josh.

      First of all, I want to say that I was one of the people that approached Josh about MPW’s race comments. I wasn’t angry however, which is what seems to have been what was conveyed or understood by the hosts. I was more upset about the fact that there are people (not to pick on Jay, but people like Jay) who haven’t been exposed to cultural diversity and it just amazed me that there are people who are kind of far behind on their view of the world. Now, I agree with everything Dino and Josh said about racism, so I won’t go into further detail. I do, however, want to touch on an equally sensitive subject: immigration, in particular the illegal kind. Not many people know this, but I am (was) an illegal immigrant. My whole family is. I come from a lower middle class family in Mexico. We had a house, two cars, a motorcycle, and my siblings and I were attending private Catholic school, which wasn’t cheap considering there were 4 of us. Things were a little tight, but we had a pleasant and happy life until the big economic crash of ’94 where we ended up losing it all. Literally. We were living on a house that was technically not ours anymore and with no wiggling room, my dad made the hard decision to come to The States and try his luck however he could, which meant taking the illegal route because doing things legally was virtually impossible at the time. I was fatherless for a year, which is the time he gave himself to accumulate a moderate amount of money for us to start a new life here. I went through the height of puberty without him and learned to shave on my own with the razor blades he left behind because kids started to tease me about my mustache. A year later our family reunited and we started to build a life from scratch. Was that really what we wanted? No, of course not. But when your government not only fails you, but forcefully takes from you, there are very little options to choose from. I don’t blame my parents for bringing me here illegally. I probably have a much better life than I would’ve had we stayed behind. This country was founded by immigrants. It was further developed by even more immigrants. Most of them, if not all of them, illegal. Why is it such a big deal these days? Unlike how we tend to be portrayed, we work hard, go to school, pay our taxes, and contribute to society. Except, we don’t get any of the benefits. I would love for Karl in particular to read this and see things from my point of view and see if he still thinks the same way. Because it’s easy to generalize and point fingers at a group of people, but it’s different when you know someone in your life that’s in a position you generally damn without giving it much thought. Illegal immigrations is not a choice, it’s a necessity for most of us. We all have a story to tell and we all have good reasons to do it. People don’t leave behind friends and family because it’s fun. We do it because we’re starving or we’re homeless or because we don’t have a future in a country that abandons us the moment we’re born.

  6. Jason, I’m glad you liked Lion. I really enjoyed the movie, even though I think it’s highly flawed. There is no denying its emotional impact, though.

    For me, it seemed like Lion was a collection of two incomplete films put together. I can’t say I wish the opening half was shorter (because it was excellent), but I do wish we had more time with grown up Saroo to develop his relationships and inform his motivations. As it is, his turn from ambitious over-achiever to someone who dropped everything to obsessively search for his original home seemed a bit abrupt. I’m not denying how strong that motivation would be, but his turn was immediate and extreme and I would have liked to spend more time building to that. Plus, more Dev Patel, please.

    I also have inherent conflict with the idea of wealthy white foreigners “rescuing” the poor, brown boy from his home country, but this is not an issue with the film as it’s simply a retelling of real events. And, in truth, I don’t even know if I feel it’s an “issue,” per se. It’s just something I feel conflicted over, in general.

    Overall, I think it’s one of the stronger Best Picture nominees, and I hope more people get out to see it before it leaves theaters.

    p.s. I noticed you mistakenly have Lion listed as a 2017 film in the show notes rather than 2016. Just wanted to point out that typo for you.
    😉

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