I met fellow bloggers Marco and Rebecka Duran over the summer at the Los Angeles Film Festival and they were kind enough to invite me to join them for an episode of their weekly podcast over at The Projection Room.

We talked about Brad Pitt’s new release Moneyball and the certifiable film classic The Maltese Falcon while I tried to make the case for Wes Anderson’s underrated The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Check it out.

Thanks to Marco and Rebecka for having me on the show.

8 Responses to “Guest Podcast: The Projection Room, Episode 18”

  1. I agree about “Life Aquatic.”. Underrated film.

  2. I just listened to this entire podcast while I attended to my own weekly column. As was the case with the last one you conducted with teh fine people at Awards Daily, you have again distinguished yourself with your acute knowledge and passion for three-prongued subject you covered in this latest three-way.

    I found myself agreeing with you and disagreeing with Marco as to the proposed length of MONEYBALL. Marco felt the daughter stuff could have been eliminated to pare the film’s running time down to 90 minutes or so, but you rightful countered that this gave the film more perspective and humanity. It also (obviously) helped to flesh out Beane’s character and quirks. The entire discussion of the film and it’s various components was engaging.

    Same too with THE MALTESE FALCON, an obvious Craig Kennedy favorite, and Bogart’s celebrated performance as Spade. Enjoyed the related discussion the film’s ‘mc guffin” and the cryptic nature of THE BIG SLEEP. This is one of those films one can watch anywhere, anytime.

    I am less a fan of THE LIFE AQUATIC, but then I am no fan of Wes Anderson, save for modest regard for THE ROYAL TENENBAUM. Still a fair enough case was built here, with Craig offering his usual candor to size out the problems that still surfaced.

    A most interesting and diverse discussion.

  3. “Life Aquatic” is an interesting film, seeing Anderson push his style about as far as it can concievably go, with plenty of excesses, but worthwhile ones. It reaches far out there, and makes something like “Darjeeling” feel much more intimate and down-to-earth by comparison. Probably the most interesting thing about it to me is the inclusion of stop-motion animation from Henry Selick, and how that anticipates the homemade feel of “Fantastic Mr. Fox”.

  4. Bob, I think Fantastic Mr. Fox is the logical extension of the Anderson style and pushes the idea even one step further than Aquatic. As I said in the podcast, I’ve always felt like Aquatic was like a screen version of one of Max Fischer’s plays. It’s a style I happen to like so naturally I’m perfectly happy with both.

    Darjeeling I think works for some people a bit better than Aquatic because it’s much more grounded in real human emotions as Bottle Rocket and Rushmore were. Aquatic is almost pure style and for me it works on a more intellectual level, though I find the key scenes to be very moving.

    I wish I had mounted a little better of a defense of Maltese Falcon, not that it really needs it. It turns out we had technical difficulties and had to redo that part. Something was definitely lost in the redo.

    Sam, in defense of Marco’s comment, I think he was speaking more about the stuff between Pitt and Robin Wright, rather than the stuff with his daughter. I almost agree with him on that point, though I just finished recording the Moneyball portion of the next AD podcast and Sasha pointed out that Billy Beane’s failed marriage is another important character element that plays into the idea that he’s a failed baseball prospect and I had to admit she was absolutely right.

    I still have some big issues with Moneyball, mostly my own baggage about it trying to make an interesting story based on some baseball events that aren’t ultimately all that interesting, but the most successful parts for me were the individual character interactions and all the non baseball stuff.

  5. I like Anderson’s style, too, but after a while all of his films wear on me a little, and “Aquatic” quickest of all. Partly it’s because he’s doing an extended Cousteau riff, and as entertaining as that is, the main thing it makes me want to do is just watch some bonafide Cousteau (just like instead of reaching for “Tenenbaums”, I might reach for “Franny and Zoey”). The comment about “Aquatic” and Max Fischer’s plays is interesting– I wonder if Anderson has ever considered mounting a theatrical production of his own, lately.

  6. I’ll be curious to see how Moonrise Kingdom turns out. I kind of feel like Anderson has gotten some of the stagey-ness out of his system with Aquatic and Fox. I’m not expecting to radically alter his style, but I’m eager to see if he brings any new elements to the table.

  7. I’ll put the podcast on my list for the next time I have podcast listening time. I still hated Life Aquatic. Wanted to love it. Hated it.

  8. Where do you stand on Tenenbaums and Darjeeling?

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