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GTGC #234 The Book of Eli

September 22nd, 2017

Welcome back to your favorite film analysis podcast, the GenreCast from GoodTrash Media. This week, the Denzel train keeps rolling as we wander the desert in The Book of Eli. 

We Read from the Book of Eli 

As #ABWD continues, we move into the Old Man Action Hero phase of Denzel's career. Some would argue that the phase begins with Man on Fire, and they wouldn't be wrong. But, we already talked about a Tony Scott film, and The Book of Eli is the definition of a GoodTrash film. The story centers on Eli (Washington) who is trekking across a post-apocalyptic America. He feels he has been supernaturally tasked to deliver a book to the West Coast. With the help of Solara (Kunis), Eli takes on raiders, cannibals and the power-hungry Carnegie (Oldman) on his journey in the wilderness.

This week, Arthur, Dalton and Dustin gather around to discuss the appeal of the Old Man Action cycle. There is an in-depth discussion of the evolution of the cycle as well as thoughts as to why it appeals to audiences. Dalton brings up formalist questions about color palette and visual style. And then, Dustin takes the discussion in the natural direction you would expect—theology. He brings up the mixed signals of the films narrative, and examines why it is a damaging tool for churches to use if not approached in the right context or discussion.

So there you have it, dear listener. We only have one week left with Denzel, but the GenreCast has miles to go before it sleeps. We will continue on the path of righteousness, will you join us? Remember, you must walk by faith—not by sight.. or sound.

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GTGC #233 American Gangster

September 15th, 2017

Hello and welcome back to your favorite film analysis podcast as we continue our Denzel Watch-a-thon with the 2008 gangster biopic, American Gangster.

First You Get the Money, then the Power, then you watch American Gangster

American Gangster

On this week's show, the gang gather around to talk about Ridley Scott's Godfather-esque gangster drama. Based on a true story, American Gangster tells us about Frank Lucas (Washington). Frank starts as a driver/collector-of-debts for local crime boss Bumpy Johnson. After Bumpy passes away, Frank looks to make a mark on Harlem. He soon moves into the Heroin business and creates a drug dynasty, and—according to the film—he becomes something of a folk hero. Frank's story is paralleled with the story of Richie Roberts. Richie is the head of a narcotics drug force trying to stop the use of heroin in New Jersey/New York.

Having discussed Denzel's work with Tony Scott, the gang thought it appropriate to talk about the collaboration with Ridley—Tony's brother. While Dalton and Arthur had previously seen American Gangster, this was Dustin's first watch. Throughout the show, they discuss the differences between the theatrical and director's cuts of the film. There is also much discussion about adaptation—specifically in regards to adaptation of true events. The hosts also question the approach of making Frank into a folk hero, as the film does.

But, before all of that analysis, the gang plays a game. In honor of the marathon, the hosts rundown their Top 3 Denzel Movies that Missed the #ABWD Cut. And when it is all said and done, they decide whether it is shelvable or simply trash—the results may surprise you.

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GTGC #232 Training Day

September 8th, 2017

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is a moment nearly 5 years in the making. After countless jokes and memes, Dustin and Dalton finally sit down to talk about Training Day on your favorite film analysis podcast.

King Kong has nothing on Training Day

That's right, as #ABWD continues it has seemingly all lead to this. Training Day is important as it marks the first pairing between Washington and Fuqua. But, it is also important as it marks Denzel's Best Performance in a Lead Role win. After the win, many considered the win to be an acknowledgement of Denzel's career post Glory. But, in some ways that downplays his performance in Training Day.

Washington plays Detective Alonzo Harris, a narcotics officer who is deep undercover. Told over the course of one day, Harris is set to show Jake Hoyt (Hawke) the ropes of narco. It is a day that will test both men. A day to see what is good, what is bad and what appears in shades of grey.

As many long time listeners know, and fans of The People's History of FilmTraining Day is a very personal film for Dalton. And it rightfully takes its place among the great Denzel performances, and the GoodTrash reading list.

Before we analyze Training Day, we go through the usual routine. We talk about our initial thoughts, play a game and of course we decide whether it goes in the trash or on the shelf. But you probably already know the answer to that.

So get ready and dive on in, besides its not like we have a gun pointed at your head.

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GTGC #231 He Got Game

August 30th, 2017

Welcome to another edition of your favorite film analysis podcast, the GenreCast from GoodTrash Media. We continue #ABWD with Denzel's third collaboration with director Spike Lee, He Got Game. 

We find out that Denzel, well, He Got Game

 

It is important to note that collaboration is important to Denzel's career. 18 movies in Denzel's filmography come from the combined efforts of 5 directors—Edward Zwick, Tony Scott, Antoine Fuqua, Jonathan Demme and Spike Lee. He Got Game is the third film in the Lee and Washington lineup. It follows Mo Better Blues and Malcolm X. He Got Game is a look into the life of Jesus Shuttlesworth (Ray Allen). Jesus is an all-star high school basketball star. He is also the number one recruit in the nation.  Jake (Washington) is a convicted murderer, and the father of Jesus. They don't have the best relationship. Jake is let out for a few days to persuade Jesus to sign with the Governor's alma mater in exchange of a shortened sentence.

The gang have a good discussion in regards to He Got Game. Race, coding, exploitation of athletes and sports are all key topics of discussion. But, before they talk all of that analysis, they play a game. This week, the game is an examination of Athletes turned Actors. Each host highlights some of their favorite athletes to make the jump to Hollywood.

Once it is all said and done though, everyone decides whether He Got Game is trash, or deserving of a spot on the shelf.

So, get in the paint and drive it to the net. We don't record any bricks here at the GenreCast.

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GTGC #230 Crimson Tide

August 23rd, 2017

As #ABWD continues, the GenreCast gets around the table to ponder the ethical questions of war. Your favorite film analysis podcast goes deep into a film that we weren't expecting to be so fun. In our journey through Denzel's career, we go back to 1995. The film? Denzel's first team up with long-time collaborator Tony Scott, Crimson Tide. 

We Dive Deep into Crimson Tide

Denzel has collaborated with several directors on multiple films. Spike Lee and Antoine Fuqua are probably the most notable, but Denzel worked with the late Tony Scott more than any other director. Denzel first worked with Scott on Crimson Tide. The two would work together on four more films—Man on Fire, Deja Vu, The Taking of Pelham 123 and Unstoppable. 

Crimson Tide is a action/suspense film taking place on a submarine—the U.S.S. Alabama. Denzel once again plays a military man, this time a Navy Lieutenant Commander, Ron Hunter. Assigned to the Alabama, Hunter works with Captain Frank Ramsey as America enters into a conflict with Russia.  However, while at sea, communication falters and the Alabama loses an important transmission. Afterwards, two conflicting ideologies clash as nuclear war looms.

But before we can get into the heavy analysis, we have to play our game. The game of the week looks at Actor Match Ups. The idea is to highlight two strong actors who go head to head or have to work together.

So, fall in and get ready to submerge into Crimson Tide with us.

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GTGC #229 The Manchurian Candidate (2004)

August 16th, 2017

In the year of our Lord, 2004, the world was beginning to turn on the War in Iraq, shadowy organizations were seemingly taking over politics, and the late, great Jonathan Demme released his vision for The Manchurian Candidate. 

We Vote for the Manchurian Candidate

Manchurian Candidate

Welcome back to your favorite film analysis podcast, the GenreCast from GoodTrash Media. This week, on the GoodTrash GenreCast, we kick off our Denzel Watch-a-thon, #ABWD—Always Be Watching Denzel. On our Devil in a Blue Dress episode, we realized the GenreCast has long overlooked Denzel. However, we are in the process of remedying that. Over the next few weeks, we will look at films from each part of Denzel's career. We will also look at many of his long time collaborations—Fuqua, Lee, Scott—and we begin with Jonathan Demme.

The Manchurian Candidate is based on the 1959 Richard Condon novel of the same name. In 1962, John Frankenheimer directed a version starring Angela Lansbury, Frank Sinatra and Janet Leigh. Demme's version follows the same basic plot, but updates it for a modern setting. The film tells the tale of Major Bennett Marco (Washington) and Senator Raymond Shaw (Schreiber) who served together in the Gulf War. Shaw won the Medal of Honor for his heroic exploits, but Marco came home with nightmares. Marco begins to unveil a conspiracy that will rattle the political world.

The gang gets together this week to look back at this somewhat overlooked Denzel piece from 2004. After their reviews, the hosts play the weekly game. This week, the game is a discussion of underrated films from great directors. Finally, the team get down to analysis and talk about the timeliness of the film, the political discourse at work and whether the film works as strongly against capitalism as last week's film, Robocop.

So, dear listener, tune in now to find out which of our hosts is a sleeper cell, and which ones are just sleepy.

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GTGC #228 Robocop (1987)

August 9th, 2017

In 1987, capitalist greed was soaring high—enter Paul Verhoeven and Robocop. 30 years later, not much has actually changed, probably the scariest thing about this movie.

Dead or Alive, it's Robocop

Robocop

Paul Verhoeven's Robocop is a simple, promising story. Tragically struck down by a violent crime lord, Alex Murphy is on his death bed. This tragedy is seen as a corporate triumph as Murphy's remains are used for the first Robocop prototype. Designed to serve and protect, Robocop patrols the streets of Detroit. Everything goes smoothly, until the memories become the ghost in the machine.

Arthur returns to discuss the Verhoeven classic. The gang has seen the film before. But now, after 30 years, does it still hold up? During quick reviews, the gang debate the technical merits of the film. But, the analysis for this film is ripe. The obvious discourse is the commentary on capitalism. But, this analysis goes much deeper. Questions of personhood, and a debate of whether Robocop serves a messianic role conclude the analysis section.

But, before the analysis, a game is played. This week, the hosts talk about their favorite Super Cops. A good time is had by all. But the ultimate question is, will Dalton every truly admit his mistakes? He has 20 seconds to comply.

 

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GTGC #227 The Cell

August 2nd, 2017

This week, the GenreCast goes deep inside the mind of a monster. They also discuss the Tarsem Singh film The Cell. 

Trapped inside The Cell

The Cell is a sci-fi/horror/thriller-infused procedural which sees psychologist Catherine Deane (Lopez) recruited to literally go inside the mind of the comatose serial killer, Carl Stargher (D'Onofrio). With Stargher's latest victim's life on the line, Deane and FBI agent Peter Novak (Vaughn) must race the clock and search Stargher's subconscious for clues.

Arthur returns this week to join Dalton and Dustin in their discussion of this genre work from 2000. For this week's game, the gang decide to discuss their favorite cinematic technology—inspired by the machine Catherine Deane uses in the film.

As the hosts break down the film, they discuss the problematic failings of the narrative. They also analyze the character portrayed by Vince Vaughn, as well as the idea of sympathy for the devil. There is also a discussion of the tropes being used as well as the intertextuality of the artwork that inspired sequences of the film.

If you think you're ready to go inside the mind of Dalton, strap in and hit play!

 

 

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GTGC #226 Devil in a Blue Dress

July 26th, 2017

Denzel Washington makes his GenreCast debut as the gang gathers around to discuss the 1995 noir, Devil in a Blue Dress.

The Devil in a Blue Dress is in the Details

Devil in a Blue Dress

According to Wikipedia, "Devil in a Blue Dress is a 1995 American neo-noir mystery film directed by Carl Franklin and photographed by Tak Fujimoto. The film is based on Walter Mosley's novel of the same name and features Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals and Don Cheadle."

Arthur joins Dalton and Dustin to discuss this overlooked gem. After their quick reviews, the game gets underway. This week, the game is a round table pitch game. Each host discusses Noir/Genre mashups they would like to see. It is similar to the noir out of water game from the Brick episode.

After the game, the discussion turns towards analysis. Race, coding, formalism, expressionism and the American dream all come up in discussion. The hosts also discuss how this film would fair in today's political climate.

If you're wondering which of the hosts are wearing the blue dress, you'll have to tune in and find out!

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GTGC #225 A Time To Kill

July 19th, 2017

Kill Some Time Talking about A Time to Kill

A Time to Kill is a great example of the 90's explosion of courtroom dramas and Dalton and Dustin are here to put it on trial technically and thematically. 

A Time To Kill

According to Wikipedia:

A Time to Kill is a 1996 American crime drama film adaptation of John Grisham's 1989 novel of the same name, directed by Joel Schumacher. Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, Matthew McConaughey, and Kevin Spacey star, with Oliver Platt, Ashley Judd, Kiefer and Donald Sutherland, and Patrick McGoohan appearing in supporting roles. Set in Canton, Mississippi, the film involves the rape of a young girl, the arrest of the rapists, their subsequent murder by the girl's father, and the father's trial for murder. The film was a critical and commercial success, making $152 million at the worldwide box office.

Now we realize that this makes two Schumacher films in a row, but this is very different from last week's Flatliners. We talk all about justice, race, Black Lives Matter, and even O.J. Simpson. This week our game is our favorite courtroom dramas. What are some of yours?

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