Celebrating 55 years since its release in 1966, Au Hasard Balthazar is considered by many to be one of the greatest films of all time, and yes, we’ve been long overdue to tackle a film from the one and only Robert Bresson, whose work has influenced filmmakers of all stripes for over half a century. The film stars Anne Wiazemsky a young French woman who develops a striking bond with a donkey she’s known since its birth, and we see a chronicling of her hardships as they parallel the inhumane treatment of Balthazar, a creature representing innocence in its rawest form.
Our film anniversary this month belongs to the romantic drama Charlie Chaplin once called “the greatest movie ever made about America.” That’s right, we’re diving into A Place in the Sun, starring Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, and Shelley Winters, with supporting turns from Anne Revere and Raymond Burr. Directed by George Stevens and written by Harry Brown and Michael Wilson, this awards-heavy favorite among classic film lovers celebrates 70 years since premiering at the Cannes Film Festival in 1951, and it was the second film adaptation of the 1925 novel An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser, which was also a place of the same name.
This month on Extra Milestone, we jump back in time 75 years to discuss Gilda, a cult classic film noir starring Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, and George Macready. Directed by Charles Vidor and co-written by Jo Eisinger and Marion Parsonnet (with an uncredited contribution from Ben Hecht), the story is adapted from the work of E.A. Ellington, and it centers around gambling con man Johnny Farrell (Ford), whose amoral casino boss Ballin (Macready) surprises him with the revelation of his new, striking wife Gilda (Hayworth). We discuss the film’s resonant themes all these years later, its impact on the noir genre, and how the film relates to other iconic dramas from the era.
This month’s Extra Milestone discussion is The Silence of the Lambs, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. We discuss the ongoing legacy of this perennial classic from director Jonathan Demme and screenwriter Ted Tally (adapted from the novel by Thomas Harris), including how it shaped the modern landscape of true crime filmmaking and left a lasting impact on perceptions of the transgender community. We also discuss the iconic performances of Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, and Ted Levine, who portray Clarice Starling, Hannibal Lecter, and Buffalo Bill, respectively. Then finish with a deep dive on the film’s ending.
For our first official milestone of 2021, we’re discussing Charlie Chaplin’s classic silent film City Lights, which this month celebrates its 90th anniversary since release. This long-celebrated romantic comedy was of course written, directed, and produced by Chaplin, who also stars in it as his iconic character, the Tramp. Along for the ride is Virginia Cherrill as the blind girl who wins the Tramp’s heart, Florence Lee as her grandmother, Harry Myers as the drunken millionaire, and plenty more.
To officially conclude this year’s Extra Milestone lineup, Jon Negroni and Will Ashton of the Cinemaholics podcast joined forces with me one last time to discuss two distinct (and oddly holiday-centric) auteur-driven classics. We start our conversation by digging through the muck of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, a bureaucratic odyssey of madness often regarded as one of the greatest films of all time. After that, we jump forward to Edward Scissorhands, an intensely personal story from Tim Burton that is both lighthearted and melancholy, and which has affected us all at one point or another.
Welcome to (perhaps) the largest Extra Milestone yet! In an Anyway, That’s All I Got reunion for the ages, I’m joined by Anthony Battaglia, Guy Simons Jr., and Jason Read to discuss three of the biggest epics of the 21st century! First up is Barry Lyndon, the passion project of Stanley Kubrick released in 1975, and a film that’s quite well-loved among hardcore cinephiles. After that, we circle back to Spartacus, an earlier Kubrick film that is rarely discussed in the context of his filmography, and perhaps for just reason! Finally, we jump forward to another one of the great directors with Ran, Akira Kurosawa’s massive and operatic masterpiece from 1985, and which only one of us had seen!
Emily Kubincanek makes her welcomed and triumphant return to Extra Milestone, and this week’s selections are among the most varied yet! We begin by celebrating the 95-year anniversary of Sergei Eisenstein’s magnum opus Battleship Potemkin, a film more fundamentally significant than almost any other when it comes to the art form of editing and propaganda storytelling. After that, we take a lighthearted and melancholy stroll into the world of Henry Koster’s Harvey, a rich and complex comedy featuring one of the best performances by the great James Stewart. Finally, we get to the bottom of Jonathan Lynn’s Clue, a cult-classic murder mystery that neither of us had seen before, and were delighted to discover was great!
This week on Extra Milestone, I’m joined once more by my good friend Guy Simons Jr. to dissect a pair of (relatively) recent classics that have garnered acclaim over the years, and which have almost nothing whatsoever to do with each other! First up is Pixar’s groundbreaking debut feature Toy Story, the first-ever wholly computer animated movie that has gained a reputation as an indispensable landmark in special effects and storytelling. After that, we jump ahead to M. Night Shyamalan’s unconventional superhero story Unbreakable, a grounded deconstruction of the genre that arrived before cinema as a whole had become swept up in comic book storytelling, and which has amassed a sizable (and well-earned) cult following.
Even in the midst of a year as hectic and unconventional as this one, Oscar season is still in full swing when it comes to this week’s selection of heavy hitters. Joining me once again for the first time in nearly three years is Maria Garcia, my former partner in crime from such shows as Now Conspiring and Part-Time Characters, and we’re discussing two films often hailed as being among the greatest of all time! We begin with Raging Bull, the morally complex sports biopic that saved Martin Scorsese’s life and has developed a widely varied legacy, and which one of us isn’t especially fond of! From there, we rewind the clock to visit Miloš Forman’s award season darling One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, a wholly unique classic within film history that holds up wonderfully to this day.
To close out the month of October, we’re reviewing two of the best films of the 1950s, and also trying out a new format for the show! First up is my conversation with Rob Wilkinson on Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s All About Eve, an all-star drama with a record-breaking number of Oscar nominations, and which happens to be a fantastic exploration of the unforgiving theater world. After that, I chat with my Anyway, That’s All I Got cohost Anthony Battaglia about Nicholas Ray’s Rebel Without A Cause, a landmark teen drama featuring an indelible posthumous performance by James Dean, and which is also fantastic!
Adonis Gonzalez, my cohost on A Nice Place to Visit and Game Over, Man!, is back on the show to discuss a trio of movies that have nothing to do with each other…or do they? Tune in to hear our conversation on Kevin Costner’s Oscar-Winning epic Dances With Wolves, John Sturges’ iconic western remake The Magnificent Seven, and Charles Burnett’s engrossing family drama To Sleep With Anger!
Will Ashton returns to Extra Milestone yet again to chart an unusual cinematic path across the 1980s and 1990s! We begin with an examination of David Lynch’s The Elephant Man, including our thoughts on the story’s emotional core, trivia on why the film is significant to the history of the academy, our impressions of David Lynch, and more! From there, we return to the films of Martin Scorsese with After Hours, an unusual and underseen comedic outing from the acclaimed director, and we close out the show by bringing the films of Abbas Kiarostami into focus with Close-Up, a hybrid documentary exploring the very nature and function of cinema.
Guy Simons Jr. (of Anyway, That’s All I Got fame) joins me for the first time on Extra Milestone for a special Halloween episode devoted to two of the greatest serial killer movies of all time! Kicking off our conversation is Alfred Hitchcock’s game-changing masterpiece Psycho, including the unique and revolutionary distribution of the film, the ways in which it insidiously sets itself apart from every other movie, whether or not it should be considered a ‘slasher,’ and more! After that, we jump forward to David Fincher’s haunting detective thriller Se7en, a movie which one of us had somehow never seen until now! We also discuss the film’s somewhat troubled legacy, the ways in which it has infiltrated the internet consciousness, and even some valuable insight on whether or not it should be viewed as an optimistic film!
Cinemaholics host Jon Negroni returns to Extra Milestone for a double feature of two of the greatest films of all time! We start by discussing Sidney Lumet’s 1975 crime thriller Dog Day Afternoon, a revolutionary and dynamic film that remains just as relevant 45 years later, if not even more so. From there, we move on to Martin Scorsese’s career-defining classic Goodfellas, which we believe may potentially hold the title as the greatest gangster film of them all, in addition to being expertly crafted in every way.
Emily Kubincanek returns to Extra Milestone at last, and in no small fashion! We’re diving headfirst into the most Classic of Cinema with two brilliant films that connect to the Silent Era! First up is Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush, a dramatic comedy featuring Chaplin’s ‘Little Tramp’ that cemented many dramatic traditions while simultaneously telling a heartfelt and humorous story! From there, we jump forward to Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard, which examines the world of showbusiness, the remnants of the Silent Era, and the widespread sacrifices found in Hollywood living through a melancholy lens steeped in Film Noir tradition.
To officially commence the Milestone month of August, Will Ashton and Andrew McMahon make their long-awaited returns to help break down a unique and unexpected triple feature, the likes of which the podcast world may have never seen before. We begin with an analysis of Barbara Loden’s Wanda, the first film to be written, directed, and led by a female filmmaker. We follow this up with a look back at Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, the iconic feature debut of Tim Burton. Finally, we dive into the work of the great Agnès Varda with an observational look at her acclaimed and influential film Vagabond.
Things are getting real heavy this week, because Adonis Gonzalez is here to talk about the two best movies of 1985, which happen to be radically different from one another! We start with a harrowing exploration of Elem Klimov’s Come and See, an anti-war film depicting the Nazi invasion of Belorussia through the eyes of a young boy. We discuss the history of the film’s reputation, the drama associated with the production, the way that it emerges as (potentially) the only War movie that actually matters, and why we find it so difficult to even recommend. After that, we were happy to cleanse our palate with a discussion on Robert Zemeckis’s iconic Sci-Fi Family Comedy Back to the Future, covering its deft narrative construction, effective antagonist, and curious soundtrack decisions, as well as a deserved commendation for the recently deceased Ron Cobb.
Sam Noland is back on Extra Milestone after a week’s respite to take on, along with friend and coworker Robert Wilkinson, two radically different classics. First up is Charles Laughton’s gothic thriller The Night of the Hunter, which stars Robert Mitchum as a psychopathic priest hunting down two children during the Great Depression. Next up on our itinerary is the landmark spoof comedy Airplane!, the laugh-a-minute lampooning of pop cinema celebrating 40 years of making the world howl with laughter.
This week’s Extra Milestone is so iconic that we may just need a bigger boat. Anthony Battaglia reunites with Sam to discuss two immensely significant blockbusters that have irreparably shaped the cinematic landscape. We start with a discussion on Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, including our differing experiences with the movie, our appreciation for the writing and acting, differences from Peter Benchley’s novel, a confession as to our shared fear of open water, and even an extremely hot take involving the infamous sequels! After we dry off from that conversation, we take an isolated look at Irvin Kershner’s The Empire Strikes Back and how it changed Star Wars (and sequels in general) forever, why it maintains its effectiveness after dozens of viewings, why we can never view the Dagobah sequence the same way again, whether or not it contains the best lightsaber battle ever, and the dichotomy between good and evil that was solidified in this film.
It’s all play and no work on this week’s Extra Milestone, because Jason Read has returned to the show to discuss a trio of very different movies. We begin with a detailed exploration of Stanley Kubrick’s Horror masterpiece The Shining, complete with reflections on why the terror of it is so effective, analyses of the movie’s themes and mysteries, a discussion of why method acting is a flawed and unnecessary process, and even a few personal stories that relate to the movie. Afterward, we take on Joe Dante’s Gremlins, stopping along the way to discuss its implementation of cinematic language, its historical significance, and all of the darkly comedic chaos that comes with it. Finally, we cap off the show with a fittingly sporadic look at Dante’s oft-overlooked sequel Gremlins 2: The New Batch, which is one of the most entertaining movies either of us have ever seen, as well as being a knowing satire of culture stuffed with enough cameos and mania to last a lifetime.
In what is certainly the most comedically inclined Extra Milestone yet, I am joined by my very close personal friend Tyler Chambers to discuss a pair of classics within the genre. We begin with a lengthy rundown of Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam’s 1975 cult favorite Monty Python and the Holy Grail, complete with behind-the-scenes stories, details we’ve noticed over the years, our personal experiences with the movie, analyses of the film’s comedic stylings, and revisits of our favorite sequences. Then we move on to John Landis’s 1980 musical road comedy The Blues Brothers. We discuss the film’s story structure, cast, presentation, and deadpan sense of humor, as well as how all of those things compare and contrast surprisingly well with Holy Grail. Afterward, we both give a recommendation to pair with each movie, some much more unexpected than others!
Jon Negroni makes his long-awaited return to Extra Milestone to investigate Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, one of his very favorite films. For 60 years, the film has gained a reputation of being one of the most insightful and layered journeys of World Cinema, and I had a wonderful time learning about its many rich cinematic attributes from Jon. Tune in to hear the two of us break down the film’s cinematography, the way it uses the city of Rome to help tell its story, the many exciting chapters that comprise the plot, and more!
Settle in, listeners, because Julia Teti is back for this week’s Extra Milestone, and it’s for an undertaking of very subtle, methodical proportions. Julia and I have decided to touch on the most famous work of the late, great Chantal Akerman with her three-hour 1975 art house classic Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai Du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. Celebrating 45 years this past May, the film has been revered by nearly all who have seen it, and continues to signify a wholly unique exploration of a day-to-day life seldom seen to this extent in cinema. With a legacy almost as impressive as its title and runtime, the two of us had plenty to say about this monolithic milestone that continues to have a tremendous impact today.
The summer is about to conclude with a creeping, atmospheric, gory bang, because Emily Kubincanek is back on The Extra Milestone to discuss a trio of Horror Classics! We start with a look at Sean S. Cunningham’s iconic slasher Friday the 13th, and how it sets itself apart from other such films, as well as the excitement of it all that still plays today. We continue with a discussion of James Whale’s sequel Bride of Frankenstein, including the similarities to Mary Shelley’s novel and how Universal crafted a new narrative around the characters. Finally, we dive into the hellish effects showcase that is the late Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator!
Hold on to your helmets, listeners, because the illustrious Julia Teti is back on the Cinemaholics feed! And not a moment too soon, because the two of us are joined by the scintillating Will Ashton to make Extra Milestone history by tackling our second Best Picture Winner, our second 1930s Film, and our first War (and Anti-War) Film with Lewis Milestone’s All Quiet on the Western Front! Celebrating 90 years this past April, the film has built a deserved legacy of being one of the most effective condemnations of combat and warfare in cinema history, and the three of us have plenty to say to support that. The film’s storied production, its unique and controversial release, its eternal relevancy, and much more are discussed, and we even take the time to recommend some complimentary films! You’re not gonna want to miss this one.
In what will likely go down as the nerdiest and most esoteric Extra Milestone yet, I am joined by my good friend and fellow hardcore cinephile Andrew McMahon to discuss a pair of significant, influential, and all-around great films. We begin with a lengthy discussion of Michelangelo Antonioni’s reflective 1975 thriller The Passenger, in addition to Antonioni’s career as a whole that we’re familiar with, followed by a look at Michael Powell’s career-ending 1960 horror film Peeping Tom. We get into a lot of exciting history and interconnectivity to the greater cinematic art form over the course of both conversations, and we hope it’s just as fun to listen to as it was to record.
Promises are being fulfilled left and right on this week’s Extra Milestone, in which the long-awaited debut of podcast veteran Adonis Gonzalez finally takes place! Adonis and I have a trio of dramatically contrasting movies to discuss, starting with a lengthy exploration of John Ford’s depression-era adaptation of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. We continue with a discussion of Ishirō Honda’s character-defining Kaijū film (as well as Godzilla’s Shōwa Era as a whole) with Terror of MechaGodzilla, and we conclude with a celebration of the 10-year anniversary of Dreamworks’s How to Train Your Dragon. It was great to podcast with Adonis once more, and we hope to unite even more in the future. Enjoy!