Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 257: American Assassin (2017) and Mother! (2017)

Episode 257 - American Assassin

This week Darren Aronofsky’s divisive film, Mother! (2017), causes more of its characteristic controversy on Movie Podcast Weekly, Episode 257. Jason and Andy (who actually saw the film) fight with Karl and Ryan who did not. Draw your conclusions; make your own decision. We also bring you a rather short and underwhelming Feature Review of American Assassin (2017). We also fight about “La La Land” and a bunch of other things that I don’t care to write about here.

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

[ 0:04:59 ] II. Mini Reviews
Ryan: Chicago Cubs baseball, Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later (2017), Death Sentence (2007), Rick and Morty
Karl: Ozark Season 1: Episode 5, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, The Emmys, Seth McFarlane The Orville Season 1: Ep. 1
Jason: Ozark Season 1, The loss of Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and Harry Dean Stanton, 9/11: The Falling Man, Kirk Cameron’s Unstoppable
Andy: La La Land (spoilers)

III. New in Theaters This Past Weekend [ Friday, September 15, 2017]:
American Assassin
Brad’s Status
The Show
First They Killed My Father
The Wilde Wedding
Infinity Chamber
Because of Gracia
Rebel in the Rye
In Search of Fellini


[ 1:07:21 ] IV. Feature Review: AMERICAN ASSASSIN (2017)
Jason = 4 ( Avoid )
Karl = 5.5 ( Rental )

[ 1:16:28 ] V. Feature Review: MOTHER! (2017)
Jason = 6.5 ( Avoid ) – Just can’t recommend it to anybody…
Andy = 6 ( Avoid ) – Just can’t recommend it to anybody…

VI. Wrap-Up / Plugs / Ending
— Come and join us for our 2017 MeetUp in Salt Lake City, Utah, on October 14. Get MORE INFO HERE.

Episode 258 where we’ll probably be reviewing “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” and “Unlocked.” Join us!


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14 thoughts on “Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 257: American Assassin (2017) and Mother! (2017)

  1. I’ve got to admit, I’m a little disappointed in Ryan’s flippant disregard of mother! too. I would expect it from Karl, but Ryan?? I think he was burned by Gods of Egypt and is now too afraid to open himself back up again. I’m calling it right now: mother! is going to be on plenty of top 10 lists at the end of year and though Karl and Ryan won’t admit it, a little voice inside them will repeat that they were on the wrong side of history

  2. Rick & Morty is the $*#%. Start from the beginning and watch it all. I’ve found the new season a little uneven (I wasn’t as crazy about the whole Pickle Rick thing as many), but that episode from a couple weeks ago, S03E07, was AMAZING.

  3. This episode is a 10 out of 10! See it in theaters and buy it! Vintage MPW, folks. Testy disagreements, pro wrestling, dead actors, teasing, vigorous arguing, definite positions staked out about movies not seen.

    Also, La La Land is fantastic and has a very good ending. It might not be “happy,” per se, but it suits the movie and characters. That debate reminded me of the time that I showed Once to my wife and she got mad about the ending. I didn’t understand. I think it’s a very happy ending. Her point was that they didn’t stay together. My point was that he gave her a piano. He gave her a piano! There’s just no reconciling some points of view.

    • Cody, your Once comment cracked me up. You are right. A free piano is a big deal, definitely something to celebrate.
      As for La La Land, I blame Ryan Gosling for giving up on the relationship. To me, his ending is sad and Emma’s is happy. Emma moved on. Ryan is still cooking dinner for one.

      • I agree that Mia is definitely happier than Seb at the end of La La Land. Poor Seb. (On the other hand, if I had my own private club, just like I always wanted, where the lights are low and the jazz is silky smooth, I think I could live with the fact that the girl I admittedly got a little ooey-gooey over that one time moved on and found someone else to love.)

        Getting mad about story endings has always struck as being a funny quirk of human nature. I do understand people’s desire to see the ending they wanted, up there on the screen larger than life, but I’m also sometimes a bit baffled by the finality that viewers attribute to endings. Seb is young, vigorous and flush with creative success and artistic fulfillment at the end of La La Land. He’ll obviously meet someone new, fall in love and be happy. If Viewer A sees the movie and then wants to moan and groan about how miserable Seb will always be that one thing out of a hundred didn’t break his way, then I consider that a failure of imagination on Viewer A’s part.

  4. Cody, your Once comment cracked me up. You are right. A free piano is a big deal, definitely something to celebrate.
    As for La La Land, I blame Ryan Gosling for giving up on the relationship. To me, his ending is sad and Emma’s is happy. Emma moved on. Ryan is still cooking dinner for one.

  5. Just got back from Mother!. In my book, it’s a triumph. A little bit draggy when the crazy really starts rollin’ prior to Mother’s becoming a Mother, if only because there’s an element of repetitive sameness to some of the “awfulness of mankind” hue and cry. A bit of judicious editing wouldn’t have hurt anything. (I think Andy said something along those lines, too.)

    It’s funny, though. When I was listening to Jason say, “I can’t think of anyone I’d recommend this to” (or something like that), I was thinking, “Me, Jason. You’d recommend it to me. In fact, that’s what you’re doing right now.” And it would have been a fine recommendation. I think the “this movie is an insane fever dream so over the top no one can handle it” narrative has gotten way overblown. It’s a pretty straightforward allegory that’s thoughtful and visceral, and there’s some fairly visually/emotionally impactful sound and fury near the end. A friend and I saw it in a fairly packed theater on a Tuesday (which, admittedly, is discount night), and nobody there seemed to be in an “F CinemaScore” kind of mood at the end.

  6. It was 22 straight wins for the Indians. Get that straight, fellas!

    Off the bat, I’d like to say that I don’t quite get the “Jennifer Lawrence is no Meryl Streep” argument. Of course she isn’t… yet. Streep has decades upon decades of experience over Lawrence. But she definitely possesses the talent and nuance where you can see she’s something of a special actor. And mother! is a stark example of her talent, given that 99% of the film was either a close-up shot of her face, a shot from her POV or a shot from just behind her (Aronofsky’s words). Much like how Kristen Stewart made Personal Shopper, Jennifer Lawrence makes mother!. (Interestingly enough, Stewart is another actor you guys seem to be wrong about 😉 ) Sometimes it feels like your Emma Stone infatuation unfairly clouds your opinion of any other female actor of her age.

    Now, on to mother!… this is a really difficult one for me. I think there’s no denying that it’s a technically proficient film, and I loved how it gradually built upon itself, descending further and further into the depths of depravity and destruction (I did like that it “went there”). I love that it’s a movie that has something to say… it makes no secret of that… but that leads me to the issue I have with it. I feel like it’s a bit of an allegorical mess. There are several different readings that can reasonably be made. Without getting into specific spoilers, there are a number of social readings alone that could be made – commentary on fame, social media, family dynamics – then there’s the artistic/creation angle, the religious allegory, the nature allegory…

    So, the question I’ve been wrestling with is, does the fact that mother! can be read in so many different ways make it a brilliant film or just a mess of a film that doesn’t really know what it wants to say? I still don’t know the answer to that question, but the ultimate effect for me was that I never fully connected with the film. So while I appreciated the performances and the filmmaking, it just didn’t land with me in a satisfying way. I wanted to like it more than I did.

    Ratings wise, I probably fall in the same vicinity as Jason and Andy – somewhere in the 6-7.5 range. That said, it’s definitely a great conversation piece, and will likely be up for a few awards early next year. And Aronofsky is anything but an idiot… pretentious, yes, but not an idiot.

    p.s. Jason, I truly believe mother! is a definite horror film. I don’t know how you can think the menace that pervades the film and the destruction it descends to in the end is anything but horrific (in both the literal and metaphorical sense). If anything, it’s certainly more of a horror film than No Escape.

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