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Podcast: Cancelling The Apocalypse! The Playlist Assesses The 2013 Summer Movie Season, So Far

by Erik McClanahan
July 16, 2013 5:25 PM
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...and the podcast is back. On this latest episode, host (yours truly) and contributor Erik McClanahan is joined by Editor-In-Chief Rodrigo Perez and Managing Editor Kevin Jagernauth for an in depth assessment of the summer movie season so far this year. After you give it a listen, don't forget to chime in with your thoughts in the comments section, we'd love to know what's worked and what hasn't for you this year, trends you're noticing, etc. How has your summer been at the movies?

Lastly, a little house cleaning: of course you can stream the podcast below, but you can also download as well via SoundCloud for use on mobile devices and work has begun to get these podcasts on iTunes and Stitcher. We'll let you know when those options are available. If you enjoy these shows we do occasionally on The Playlist, perhaps you'll also enjoy Erik's weekly podcast, Adjust Your Tracking. Please email if you'd like to connect. Thanks for listening! 

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  • Tyler Mason | July 24, 2013 8:50 PMReply

    I haven't seen too many of the big apocalypse movies lately, but I found Pacific Rim to be the ugliest I've seen in recent years. All of the fights took place at night and under the ocean (save maybe less than a minute of quit cut-scenes). I saw the first Transformers in theaters and it genuinely looked better than this because the giant robots weren't covered in shadows and fog- they flew around in sunlight and the effects were shown off. Even the Snyder's dour grey palate with Man of Steel looked more lively than Pacific Rim. I did see it through 3-d glasses, so it might have made it look particularly murky, but I was constantly reminded of the hideous Godzilla with Matthew Broderick. And as much as I hate the mercenary projects by Bay and Emerich, as you guys mentioned, I'm not sure there was a single element in the plot or other themes in this film that I hadn't seen in Independence Day, Transformers, Armageddon, or Top Gun.

  • harry_p | July 17, 2013 8:45 AMReply

    put this on itunes, please

  • AJ G. | July 17, 2013 5:45 AMReply

    Very interesting conversation I loved listening. I agree with the sentiment that we will start to see only major blockbusters in big theaters while movies for "cinephiles" as you call them (I think of them as movies for people with brains) will be relegated to smaller 25 seat theaters. I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing at all. It's practically already happened anyways. As long as good movies still exist (which you would have to be completely cynical or just living under a rock to deny that they do) I will be ok with blockbusters making a bajillion dollars off of the masses while people that appreciate film as an art form will have to go see good movies in smaller theaters. This is happening to any art form that is also considered entertainment. Movies and music being the main forms that I can think of at the moment. The Katy Perry's, Justin Beiber's, Michael Bay's, and Adam Sandler's of the world are all the same to me, and they all prove the exact same point. That point being that unfortunately, the vast majority of the public enjoy consuming media that is not intellectually or emotionally challenging or stimulating. As a lover of film and music as art forms, it is kind of a bummer to realize that the majority of my fellow human beings basically only consume entertainment if it is shoved in their faces, rather than seeking it out. Just because it bums me out doesn't make it any less true, so the only thing I can do is keep trying to promote and discover new artists that I appreciate, and to try to spread the word about these artists to as many people as possible. Someone crying "Transformers is the death of cinema!" is kind of missing the point. They're not saving movies by complaining. They should be making their own movies and music that they find artistically satisfying and promoting other artists that have the same attitude towards these art forms. What I'm trying to get at is exactly the point you guys made: we are the minority. It's sad but it's true. But just because we are the minority doesn't mean we have to die off. We just have to keep doing what we're doing and people like us will continue to exist. For now we will have to just keep loving art and have to put up with cringing whenever you're at a family dinner and they suggest going to see Grown Ups 2 as a family outing. Sigh. I'll go see it with you guys, as long as when we get home you'll let me show you City of God, Amores Perros, or anything by Charlie Kaufman.

  • Tyer Mason | July 24, 2013 10:23 PM

    I agree with you on a number of points. I live in a fairly large college town where our only theater that would show indie films and had been open since like 1929 went out of business a couple years ago. All that was left were the two multiplexes that show five different explosion based movies on 10 screens (2D and 3D). I was pretty devastated at the time, but more and more I realize I can see basically whatever I want through VOD and online streaming. I do miss the moviegoing experience, but I also have more home access to all films (old and new) than I'm sure just about anybody in the world had 15 years ago. Seriously, think about that. And I can watch them whenever I want, which means no more working your schedule with whoever you want to see a movie with and trying to line it up with the theater's schedule.

    And I'm assuming that "death of cinema" quote was a reference to the Soderbergh rant. He is completely wrong. I think he's just bitter he's not a celebrity auteur like Scorsese and Tarantino. The equipment and software to make films is now cheaper than ever. More directors can make a professional grade product on a micro-budget. Which means more opportunities for more great movies. Look at what Shane Carruth did- wrote, financed, directed, starred-in, edited, and distributed Upstream Color on his own with a micro budget. The special effects for Monsters from a couple years ago were all done on a laptop and they looked as good as most any studio CGI is saw a decade ago (though I really favor practical effects). People like the Duplass brothers just need to point a camera at their imaginations and a good cast, and they tell some great human stories.

    Let the knuckle-dragger masses enjoy nothing but the booms in the multiplexes. Creative cinema is still having a renaissance for the people who care about great films.

  • Regular reader | July 17, 2013 4:41 AMReply

    Why not do a regular podcast?

  • AJ G. | July 17, 2013 6:02 AM

    I completely agree. I loved listening to this.

  • Ryan O. | July 17, 2013 12:39 AMReply

    I feel that del Toro's hands were tied making this film. I find it hard to believe that this is the fully realized version of this concept from the guy who did "Pan's Labyrinth," "The Devil's Backbone," or even both "Hellboy" films, which I cherish as far as blockbuster films go. I did an editorial recently, sort of playing devil's advocate about what "Pacific Rim's" underperformance meant for the state of blockbuster filmmaking, kind of like what you guys touched on, with people rallying behind it and wanting to get more original films made. I spoke more about the idea of getting the auteurs into the studio system rather than getting behind so-called "original" films, for "Pacific Rim" and, as Erik pointed out, "Oblivion," blatantly rip off other, better films. I see "Pacific Rim" the way that I saw "Blade II" for del Toro, and that is a stepping stone to see that if this film is a success, then maybe he will get to make the one he wants, like Nolan having great success with the "Dark Knight" trilogy, and then subsequent success with "Inception." I have tried to get people to see this film, despite its flaws (and no, the first "Transformers" is not more enjoyable than this, del Toro at least strips this film from the crassness of Bay's inhuman touch), because if it succeeds, then maybe del Toro would get to make something like "The Mountains of Madness" adaptation he wanted to do. We'll still get "original" films, but we need visionaries behind them, not someone who is just going to follow orders and adhere to cliches that have been done to death.

  • A.P | July 17, 2013 12:39 AMReply

    I´m about to listen to the podcast but I'm pretty sure it's gonna be interesting (as always). Just wanted to give an idea : you guys should do a cannes podcast. I know it's a little bit late but I remember the one you did last year and it was very good!!

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