Podcast: 'Cloud Atlas' Review, the Idea of the Oscar Injustice, Director Control and More

We even rank Quentin Tarantino and Sam Mendes' films

Rope of Silicon PodcastThis felt like a strange podcast while we were recording, but listening to it back while making the timeline I actually think it turned out quite good.

This week we review Cloud Atlas as it was the only one of the four new films coming to theaters either Laremy or I saw. We also talk about the idea of the Oscar injustice and if it's something we ever think about, what kind of control over a film directors should be allowed to have, who the most powerful directors in the industry are right now and what films we would show to our children, if we had children, which we don't. We even find time to rank both Quentin Tarantino and Sam Mendes' films almost on a whim and then we have Over/Unders, Buy or Sells and the new "Would you rather..." feature to close things out. We hope you enjoy and have a great weekend.

As always, I have broken down this episode on a minute-by-minute basis if you would like to skip ahead and below I have featured the information on how to download the podcast, find us on iTunes or merely just listen in your browser.

  • 00:00-00:42 - Introduction
  • 00:43-1:53 - Show notes
  • 1:54-7:50 - The Oscar Injustice
    • [Listener Question] This is for both of you, if you could go back to any year, lets take 1990 to the Present and choose ANY film that was NOT nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, and not only nominate it, but award it. Which film would you choose? [Capn Geech]
  • 7:51-13:23 - Sin City
    • [Listener Question] On a recent podcast, it sounded like Laremy wasn't a big fan of Sin City. While his feelings toward the horror genre are well-documented, I was curious why he didn't like Sin City. [Jon Sullivan]
    • [Listener Question] Going back to Sin City vs. 300, Sin City is at 78% on RT and 300 is at 59%. I know RT isn't exactly gospel but Sin City on release was pretty highly praised and recieved a few five star reviews and even some talk - albeit far fetched - of an Oscar nod for Rourke's performance. 300 was quite fun but would struggle to get an A grade from even the most lenient of critics. [SeenSome]
  • 13:24-18:13 - Openings and Endings
    • [Listener Question] What is your favorite opening of a film? Favorite Ending? [Ben]
    • [Listener Question] If you had to compile a list of your favorite final shots from movies, which would make the list? Some of my favorites include Inglourious Basterds, There Will Be Blood, Death Proof, The Departed, Inception, Godfather 2, Fight Club, Heat and The French Connection. [AS]
  • 18:14-28:16 - Cloud Atlas review (read mine here)
  • 28:17-33:53 - Box-Office Challenge Update (chart below)
  • 33:54-41:14 - A kinda/sorta #GoodComments
  • 41:15-43:45 - [Listener Question] Have your expectations of a movie ever spoiled your enjoyment of it? [Quickslay]
  • 43:46-54:45 - [Listener Question] If you had a son/daughter, what movie would you show them so they might share your love for good movies? [Quickslay]
  • 54:47-1:03:45 - [Listener Question] Let's say a director with significant power (i.e. Christopher Nolan, David Fincher, James Cameron, etc.) wanted his next film to be a truly controversial one that would be a risk for a major studio, the type of film that could potentially cause the same moral panic that films like A Clockwork Orange and The Exorcist caused in the 70s. These directors obviously have good relationships with the studios, but do you still think that in today's climate they could get their film made? [Criterion10]
  • 1:03:46-1:09:15 - Over / Under
    • 3 more entries into the Paranormal Activity series. [SeenSome]
    • 2.5 most times either of you will ever again re-watch a movie in theaters during its original theatrical run [G-Man]
    • 3.5 years before a major blockbuster skips opening in theaters and premieres on Facebook On Demand [G-Man]
    • C+ CinemaScore for Cloud Atlas [The Colleague]
    • 4.5 B-, B, or B+ movies to end up on Brad's Top Movies of 2012 list (there were five on the 2011 list: The Adjustment Bureau, Bellflower, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Midnight in Paris, We Need to Talk about Kevin) [The Colleague]
    • 7.5 horror movies Laremy has seen that are in the top 10 of Film.com's "The Top 50 Horror Movies of All Time", and 9.5 for Brad [The Colleague]
    • 2.5 Weinstein company films nominated for Best Picture [Ron Oneal Fresh]
    • 5 years before Terrence Malick gives an interview [bss121]
    • 1.5 video games Brad and Laremy purchase in 2013 (individually) [AS]
    • 8.5 nominations for Best Picture Category (I think there will be 9 to be honest!) [Alex Thomas]
  • 1:09:16-1:12:27 - Would you rather (brought to you by Snicket)
    • Would you rather watch an erotic movie with your parents or watch an erotic movie of your parents? [Trishana]
    • Sit through a triple bill of War Horse, Popper's P's and Corialanus, or finally give Human Centipede 1 and 2 the consecutive viewing they so richly deserve? [Shloggs]
    • Watch another Peter Berg-directed board game adaptation or a sequel to a Rob Cohen film directed by Cohen himself? [John D.]
    • Watch War Horse for 24 consecutive hours with your eyes glued open or make a music video of yourself dancing Gangnam Style and post it on the RopeofSilicon homepage? [G-Man]
  • 1:12:28-1:16:32 - Buy or Sell
    • Christopher Nolan will ever direct a James Bond film
    • The next James Bond will be played by a black actor
    • At some point the James Bond franchise stops being profitable and is discontinued.
    • The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 will not end up on Brad's Worst Movies of 2012 list (Part 1 was among the worst for 2011)
    • Academy members already have an idea of which films they will be nominating even though they have not yet seen many of them.
    • Iron Man 3 will be the Top Grossing Film domestically of 2013
    • Michael Mann starts production on his next film sometime in 2013.
    • A Paranormal Activity sequel is made that doesn't use the "found footage" technique the series is known for
  • 1:16:33-1:18:26 - #GoodTweets
  • 1:18:27-1:20:16 - What's your favorite Sam Mendes film?
  • 1:20:17-1:20:47 - Toss Up: More Likely to Lose Oscar: Daniel Day-Lewis or Jennifer Lawrence [Randy]
  • 1:20:48-1:22:37 - Closing
  • 1:22:38-1:23:41 - [Listener Question] Which is the worst movie studio both large and small? [marlonwallace]
  • 1:23:42-1:24:30 - Epilogue

Finally, I do have one quick request. If you could give us a review on iTunes it would be greatly appreciated.

You can listen below, on Stitcher, download the audio by right-clicking here and saving it to your computer or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. It's up to you.

NOTE: Apple's iTunes randomly checks for updated episodes, so sometimes the latest episode may not be immediately available in iTunes.

You can find Laremy's writing here on RopeofSilicon.com and also at Film.com and on Twitter at @Laremy.

Fall 2012 Movie Box-Office Draft
Brad vs. Laremy

Laremy's Picks
MovieDateBudgetBox-OfficeCurrent Total
The MasterSep 14$35m$14.8m-$72.6m
LooperSep 28$30m$134m$59m
Taken 2Oct 5$45m$283.7m$171.2m
Cloud AtlasOct 26$100m$0
Wreck-It RalphNov 2$150m$0
Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 2Nov 16$131.5m$0
Red DawnNov 21$75m$0
Life of PiNov 21$100m$0
Django UnchainedDec 25$0
Les MiserablesDec 25$0
Brad's Picks
MovieDateBudgetBox-OfficeCurrent Total
Resident Evil: RetributionSep 14$65m$217.5m$55m
ArgoOct 12$44.5m$48.2m-$62.9m
Paranormal Activity 4Oct 19$5m$59.3m$46.8m
Alex CrossOct 19$23m$13.6m-$43.8m
FlightNov 2$50m$0
SkyfallNov 9$150m$0
LincolnNov 9$65m$0
Anna KareninaNov 16$50m$9.9m-$115.1m
The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyDec 14$0
The ImpossibleDec 21$45m$26m-$86.5m

The Fall 2012 Movie Box-Office Draft competition involved both Brad and Laremy "drafting" ten films each in hopes of scoring the largest net total by taking a film's worldwide gross subtracting two-and-a-half-times the reported budget. The film must be released between the months of September-December 2012. The draft took place on August 28 during the RopeofSilicon Podcast which you can listen to right here.

Listed above is all the most recent data as of this post. Budgetary information is not necessarily accurate and will most likely not be accurate until closer to or after each film's release.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/seanfast/ Sean Fast

    What are your guys opinions on sites like ScriptShadow that review screenplays for upcoming films? Many in the screenwriting industry (e.g. John August, Craig Mazin, and others) have expressed disdain for the site, because it reviews works in progress, giving criticism such as...

    "Not only are you spoiling plot details, but you’re establishing a baseline judgment for a project that’s often still in its fetal phase."

    Others, namely aspiring screenwriters who use the site, contend that this is the best "in" they've had to the industry so far. Getting to see these scripts that have sold, and discuss/critique how they're structured, what goes into the writing, how drafts change and improve the story, what kind of work is necessary to create arcs, character development, dialogue, etc. can be invaluable to writers new to the craft.

    While I can understand some of the arguments on the John August side, I tend to disagree. Plot details being spoiled is a weak argument, it's like arguing that the Harry Potter books spoil plot points for the film, so they should be taken off the shelf once the movie is announced. I also think reading 100 bad scripts is more educational to the aspiring screenwriter than reading books like Save the Cat or Mckee's Story. And seeing what makes up a script that sells can be very informative.

    Full disclaimer if it wasn't obvious already, I'm a proponent/participant of the site, but I'm curious what two movie guys who aren't aspiring screenwriters think of the whole debate.

    Do A Good Research,
    Sean Fast

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      I'll probably add this to the next podcast, but just wanted to say now that I tend to agree with you, but like you said, I'm not a screenwriter. However, I also don't visit or read ScriptShadow so the spoiling of plot points doesn't affect me.

      I would say the biggest problems sites like that and the problem with all movie sites in general has little to do with what the sites are doing, but more with the fact I think studios pay too much attention to what is being said on these sites.

      The Internet is filled with knee-jerk reactions and I would hate to ever be told directly that studios take online chatter into consideration when deciding on what films to make and/or what decisions are made with films in any stage of production.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/seanfast/ Sean Fast

        Thanks for your reply, I look forward to the discussion on tuesday!

        I agree with the studio thing, it seems to fit into that other argument about how they will release 800 trailers/tv spots/clips/posters/etc. but only on THEIR terms. If a trailer gets posted two days early they ask you to take it down. Don't post that review until we tell you to! And so on...

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheBioscopist/ TheBioscopist

    I know you guys keep saying the Master is finished in the box office, but you do realize that it's not being shown internationally yet? The first public screening in the UK is Nov 9th and then it cascades all the way through Europe and then onto Australia. So you've still got those international ticket sales to consider. Unless I'm being an idiot and you're only considering US sales.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      You definitely have a point and There Will be Blood did make almost $40 million internationally, but it also made over $40 million domestically. The Master just doesn't seem to be stoking the flames of conversation and I don't really see it doing well in international territories. It's release in UK and Australia comes early November so I guess we'll find out soon. It would be interesting if it outperformed its domestic total since it seems only animated and 3D action films tend to do that nowadays.

  • Jeffrey

    In response to your kinda/sorta Good Comments, it could be that people do that type of stuff just to try and create a fire storm. They may not even agree with the comment they post. Some people just want to watch the world burn.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      "Some people just want to watch the world burn."

      I don't doubt that for a second.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/DiscoPaco/ Disco Paco

    Laremy needs some mind-expanding education on the art of the opening title sequences. They can be amazing if done well (i.e. compliment the story, theme, or set up tone ala Seven)


  • Trishana

    -5 years before a movie featuring full frontal male nudity in sex scenes is given an R rating not NC-17
    -10 years before a non-white female director is nominated for a Best Director Oscar
    -5 years before Idris Elba is nominated for an Oscar

    Buy or Sell:
    -Game of Thrones will eventually be made into a movie
    -A rap song will win best song at the Oscars in the next 5 years

    Would you rather:
    Be stuck in a horror movie with no ending or a Barney movie with no ending?
    Watch only bad horror movies or bad comedy movies for the REST of your life?

    To Brad or Laremy: What movie(s) had the most controversial scenes involving teens or children? (They have to involve actors who are actually teens or children and not 22 year olds playing teenagers) I would have to say Me and You and Everyone We Know as well as Splendor in the Grass.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      Give me bad horror over bad comedy all day every day, but it should be interesting to hear Laremy's opinion on this one.

  • snicket

    I'm disappointed you didn't go for Assassin's Creed 3. :( But I'm happy to see "would you rather?" is catching on nicely.

    Buy or Sell:

    Lena Dunham returns to writing and directing film.

    Marc Webb ever does anything of note again in his career.

    Would you rather see the next Marvel stand alone films bomb and Avengers 2 be legitimately excellent, OR the stand alone films be the best work Marvel has done yet but Avengers 2 is an epic embarrassment.

    Would you rater watch Michael Fassbender's Assassin's Creed film, OR Aaron Paul's Need For Speed film.

    Would you rather interview celebs on the Oscar red carpet OR interview celebs post winning an Oscar. And I'm saying you work for the E! network in this scenario so you can't ask legitimate questions.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      It's not out yet is it? We are going to get it actually.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/seanfast/ Sean Fast

        Comes out tuesday 30th. Can't wait!

  • The Dude

    Best opening: GoodFellas
    Best Ending: Se7en

  • Ugh

    I don't remember having heard a more abrasive, unlikeable opening to your podcast.

    "It's the Oscars, who cares," is a preposterous argument when much of this website is designed around prognosticating the Oscars.

    The person's question was basically to ask which movie you thought should've received more acclaim than it did, and to blow it off in such derisive fashion made you both sound like a couple of ridiculous hipsters.

    That you spent all that time trying to explain that you wouldn't bother thinking about an unfixable injustice like the broken political system also sounded like you are too good for the incredible fluffy speculator sport of Oscar prognosticating.

    I understand you wanted to make a point about the type of question, but please get over yourself.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      I'm sorry you felt that way Ugh (I do wish you had at least used a real name so this could have been a little more of a personal conversation). The goal wasn't to blow off a question, but more to illustrate that I (I'm not going to speak for Laremy here) don't really look back at the so-called injustices of the Oscars and that's largely as a result of many years looking at the awards race so closely. It's also why I started my own RopeofSilicon Awards so I can still pay a personal tribute to the films, performances, etc. that I do believe were the best in any given year.

      Many people often ask similar questions and I didn't want to continually not answer them. Perhaps our response came off as dismissive, but that wasn't the intent.

      I'm also sorry you got the impression we think we are "too good for the incredible fluffy speculator sport of Oscar prognosticating," though I'm not sure how you got that opinion considering, as you mention, I focus on the awards race heavily here on this site and the conversation had nothing to do with Oscar predictions. However, I will say I've always been quite specific in that I look at Oscar predicting as a game and not as an indicator of quality.

      • http://www.film.com/author/laremy-legel Laremy Legel

        I'm sorry too, "Ugh". It was never my intention to hurt you.

        I think sometimes we just talk a lot, and not all of them can be first round draft picks. But we'll get better, and that's the true true.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/HarryFuertes/ Harry Fuertes

          Haha.. I see what you did there Laremy.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/seanfast/ Sean Fast

        Apparently he stopped listening to the podcast before you got to that part about good-commenters being too subconsciously ashamed of their comments to have the courage to post their real names or emails...

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AmericanNoir/ AmericanNoir

      Were we listening to the same podcast?

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Kessler/ Kessler

    I actually agree with you on the whole who should have won an Oscar versus who didn't. Whenever I see film writers or bloggers complain about it, I usually think that they feel they have to do it or they're just venting. Either way, it's kind of pointless. It reminds me of last year when Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was nominated for Best Picture last year. Many people were upset about it. Yes, it was a shocking nomination, but did you really think that it would go on to win Best Picture because of the nomination? I guess the anger about who should've been nominated annoys me more. The Academy has been doing this almost every year now. Getting angry about it seems like a waste of time.

    By the way Laremy, I have the seen the video of you dancing to "Like a G6", and it's pretty funny :)

    Listener Question:

    What are some of your favorite movie-going experiences?

    When a movie receives a massive backlash (like Titanic or Avatar), do you think it has to do with a genuine change of opinion or is it just because everyone else is doing it and they think they should too?


    $220 million worldwide for Cloud Atlas.
    8 years until the Oscars allow more nominations for the other categories.
    1.5 weeks that Skyfall will be #1 at the box office. (Breaking Dawn Part 2 opens the week after, but word-of mouth could possibly help Skyfall).

    Buy or Sells:

    There will be a Best Picture/Best Director split this year.
    If Les Mis is a success, then studios will begin to make more musicals.
    The next Ghostbusters movie will be a remake instead of making a third one.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/LukasMix/ Lukas Mix


    1. I really would like to know how your day to day work routine is split up. I guess maintaining the site is not a petty task, but can you live off it? Do you have a job besides? How do you balance it?

    2. How often does it happen that you hear a groaner of dialogue/monologue and ask yourself: how did this get in the movie?!
    Who do you think is responsible for bad dialogue in a movie?
    As far as I know, a director gets a script in advance (let's exclude an 11th hour director change). Why does such crap still stay in?

    Stay golden, boys


    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheBioscopist/ TheBioscopist

      I wouldn't mind knowing a little more about Lukas Mix's point 1 too. What is the life of a professional blogger like?

      • Disco Paco

        Me three!

  • Scott


    I cant be the only one that found the video.....can i??

    • http://www.film.com/author/laremy-legel Laremy Legel

      That Miley impression is now wildly old school.

      Hat tip to Airwolf, The A-Team, Bill Winters, and Dev for making that puppy flow.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/maja/ maja

      That is amazing! Thanks for posting Scott.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/seanfast/ Sean Fast

      My favorite parts are where he does "the sprinkler" dance move, and says "ARRY POTTAH". When I watch him on the air though all I can think of is the frotcast guys bustin his chops

  • http://www.theoriolereport.com Bob Phelan

    I was listening to the Battleship Pretension podcast and one of the co-hosts (the other one gave you guys a shout out in the same episode actually) mentioned something he did with some of his friends that I thought was a good idea. He called it a fantasy Oscar league (I prefer fantasy film league myself) and it encompasses the entire award season. Like in fantasy football you have set positions (best picture, best actor, best actress, best supp. actor, best supp. actress, best director, and a flex/utility/catch all spot) and you hold a draft to fill them. You get points for nominations and wins leading up to the oscars which would be like the super bowl and worth more. I think it would be interesting to see the strategy. Do you take Les Mes or DDL and hope you can get something like The Master later? It might be a little later than ideal to get it started but I thought it would be something cool for 5-10 film lovers to get in to.

    Laremy, I've been listening to this for too long. I had a #goodtweet pop into my head. Check it: Cloud Atlas Shrugged - Six interconnected storylines in the past, present, and future based on the train industry.

    • http://www.film.com/author/laremy-legel Laremy Legel

      That's excellent work, you've successfully morphed your brain into a #goodtweet machine.

      • http://www.theoriolereport.com Bob Phelan

        I'm not gonna quit my day job... As much as I may want to after delivering mail during Superstorm/Frankenstorm/Superbitch Sandy...

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/seanfast/ Sean Fast

    In honor of Savages coming out on dvd, WOULD YOU RATHER:

    Get tortured by Benicio del Toro?
    have a "wargasm"?

  • Justin Golding

    What has the best potential to be good: Kick Ass 2, Sin City 2, or Machete 2?

  • http://cinemmaconfessions.blogspot.com Gautam

    Listener's Question:

    With time, there is a gradual but definite shift in the way films are made. This could be due to changing social norms, viewers tastes and most importantly technology. My question is do you think influential directors of past would have been as successful in present or vice-versa maverick directors of today could have been as successful in past. I would be really interested in knowing your views especially about directors like Hitchcock from Past and Fincher, Nolan from present. [ One of the glaring examples of a successful past but modest present is Coppola]

    • http://cinemmaconfessions.blogspot.com Gautam

      One more Listener's Question:

      Out of all the movies that you have watched, which movie did you find most difficult to understand/follow in the first viewing ? [ For me it's Primer]

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Cordia/ Cordia

    really liked this podcast.

    Couple of questions:

    Last year, the artist won the oscar for best picture, but at the end of october most people didn't think it would win, it was maybe when the Critics all over the us gave it the prize for best film when it picked up the momentum, at that point people were talking about Extremely loud to win, this year a lot of us think Les miserable is going to win, do you think something similar will happen this year so a relative outsider will win because it is a movie everybody likes, like argo but that isn't an outsider really. what are your thoughts on this?

    1 or 2 months ago, there was this article about a upcoming movie with high oscar potential being a total fiasco, most did think it would be Lincoln, at this point i think it is safe to say it isn't lincoln based on the positive reactions that movie got. What do you think this movie is, or was it just a joke or someone having wrong information?

    if you would had to market a movie like Cloud Atlas, how would you do it?

    if you had to replace Daniel Craig as Bond, who would you choose?

    Would you rather be paid a million to make a movie and lose Rope of Silicon/current job or make 1 million with your current job/selling rope of silicon and never make a movie.
    Would you rather write or direct a movie?
    Would you rather be an actor in a Terrence Mallick movie (risk to get cut) or a Fincher movie (100 takes a scene)


    120 million worldwide for Cloud Atlas
    2.5 oscar noms for Cloud Atlas
    20 million opening weekend for Life of Pi
    3.5 years till Tom Hardy or Michael Fassbender wins an oscar
    3 oscar noms for Skyfall
    7 years untill at least 10% of the movies released in theaters are in 48fps

    Idris Elba is the next James Bond
    JGL is in Justice Leaque
    Jack Reacher will be a financial disaster
    Wally Pfiser will win a best director oscar before Christopher Nolan wins one.

  • dj

    Have you guys seen the set photos of zoe saldana in that nina simone biopic and if so what are your opinions of her playing nina simone,personally I view it as blatant black face. I mean I doubt Adepero Oduye was just so busy they couldn't have casted her.

  • Jesse Ham

    kinda random question:
    if the golden globe noms come out like december 10 or whatever, and les miserables comes out december 25, then les miz has to be screened or somethin for the voters, right?
    do you know when critics and bloggers and that whole crowd of peeps are gonna be seeing les miz and offering their always appreciated take on the film?
    i'd love to know if you know anything
    luv u guys

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      No word yet, but I would guess screenings will take place before everyone goes on vacation for Thanksgiving.

  • Matt

    Listener Questions:

    1)With Halloween coming up, what are some films that scared you as children and sitll have some sort of effect on you now?

    In case that's not really clear, here is my own example: When I was around 5 or 6 my grandma showed me Silence of the Lambs as she babysat me and while I'm not "scared" of the film anymore, it still freaks me out more than it probably would if I had seen it for the first time when I was older. Are there any films like that for you guys?

    2) How did you guys get involved in this sort of field of work, and how would you recommend people interested in writing for or managing a site like Rope of Silicon, get started? I'm currently in college and hope to have my own site one day, and Rope of Silicon has been a major inspiration for me.

    Anyway, keep up the great work!

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Criterion10/ Criterion10

    Sin City is a movie I remember having a difficult time with. I think my problem was the simple fact that the movie is about three (or was it four?) separate stories that weren't really related. I think I would've found it more interesting if the different stories intersected. I have this same problem with many movies that take on a similar style.

    A few movies that I would show my child at a young age include Planet of the Apes, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and anything by Charlie Chaplin. Those were some of the many films that I can remember kick starting my passion for films. I actually remember watching Alien with my family when I was in 1st grade (I have a very good memory). It didn't scare me at all, and I actually remember liking the movie so much that I convinced my parents to buy me that 2-disc special edition with the director's cut and theatrical version as well.

    Okay, here's the deal with Tarantino. I do like him overall, and Inglourious Basterds is most definitely his best film. But, at the same time, he rips off movies way too much. What if I told you that the Eziekel 25:17 speech was entirely taken word for word from another film called "The Bodyguard"? Or how about the idea of the mysterious suitcase being stoled from "Kiss Me Deadly"? These are some of the most iconic moments of Pulp Fiction that Tarantino directly ripped off. Reservoir Dogs fares even worse, with the entire plot being taken from a Hong Kong film with Chow Yun-Fat entitled "City on Fire". Scenes literally mirror each other with an uncanny presence. I do like Tarantino's movies (with the exception of that thing Death Proof) but he really does walk a fine line between homage and plagarism. Inglourious Basterds is a fine example of an original story where Tarantino pays homage to other films as opposed to stealing from them. That's one of the reasons why it's his best film.

    Note: There's actually two shorts on YouTube by a filmmaker named Mike White. The first "You're Not Fooling Anyone" exposes Reservoir Dogs, the second "You're Still Not Fooling Anyone" exposes Pulp Fiction.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Criterion10/ Criterion10

      Whoops, the film exposing Reservoir Dogs is actually "Who Do You Think You're Fooling?".

    • http://www.seensome.com SeenSome

      Isn't Tarantino generally pretty up front about his influences and the films he's lifted things from?

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/seanfast/ Sean Fast

      A ripoff is like when Disturbia claims Rear Window had no influence on it.

      Tarantino's movies aren't ripoffs. He talks about the influences and homages up front. Django is a loose adaptation of an old western by the same name (almost).

      I don't see how an Ezekiel speech can be taken "word for word" from another film? Didn't both films take it "word for word" from the Bible?

      The suitcase idea is called a "macguffin". Movies have been using them forever. When Tarantino uses a macguffin he's not ripping off Kiss Me, Deadly, he's making a reference to movies with macguffins by putting on in his own film. Kiss Me, Deadly didn't "rip off" The Maltese Falcon when it used a macguffin. The falcon in the movie itself was a macguffin, and that film came out 14 years before Kiss Me, Deadly. Here's a list of macguffins:
      http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MacGuffin (scroll down and open the film tab for tons of examples).

      References, adaptations, homages, etc. are not ripoffs. A Bug's Life is the same exact story as The Seven Samurai. So is the Magnificent Seven. Fistful of Dollars is the same story as Yojimbo, which is the same story as Red Harvest.

      While I disagree with you on your points, I hope they debate and discuss this topic of reference vs ripoff in the podcast, it's a good one to discuss.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Criterion10/ Criterion10

        The Ezekiel speech is not from the Bible, however. It was written for the film "The Bodyguard" with Sonny Chiba and is recited during the opening scene. Tarantino stole it directly word for word. If you take a look at the video "You're Still Not Fooling Anyone" you'll see.

        The suitcase is definitely a macguffin, but take a look at the scene in Kiss Me Deadly. Everything about it is mirrored in Pulp Fiction. The lighting of the suitcase, the angle at which Travolta looks at it, etc.

        There are many other different examples I could cite. Many famous quotes from his movies are taken from other films, such as the "If you shoot me in a dream, you better wake up and apologize" quote in the beginning of Reservoir Dogs. Something like this was originally from "Do the Right Thing".

        And Magnificent Seven and Fistfull of Dollars are both acknowledged remakes, so I wouldn't say they entirely fit under homages or references.

        Tarantino is a director that I like, but he definitely needs to focus more on creating his own rather than paying homage. That's one of the reasons I liked Inglourious Basterds so much. It would definitely be interesting to hear Brad and Laremy discuss this next podcast, although they did already touch on it in this one.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Quickslay/ Quickslay

          I don't think that Tarantino pays homage at all. It is just the way the man works. His brain has absorbed all those movies and he just puts together his own vision taking every tidbit from here and there.

          Actually, everybody works that way....consciously or subconsciously. But he is very vocal about it while others plainly deny it.

          Considering these facts you should think that Jackie Brown is his best movie because he did not (not as fas as I know but I could be wrong) pay homage to or rip off other movies. I actually think that this is his best work by far.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/DArtagnan/ DArtagnan

    Buy or Sell:

    - Cloud Atlas will not be nominated for Best Makeup to avoid controversy
    - The first trailer for Cloud Atlas was around 6 minutes long because of the importance on the number 6 in the story (6 storylines, the sextet, Six-smith...)
    - Spielberg will never make another movie that does not have a parent-child (or parent-child-like) subplot

    Watch This or Watch That:
    - Cloud Atlas or The Fountain
    - John Carter or Avatar
    - Battle Royale or The Hunger Games

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Travis/ Travis

    Over/under (quick callback while watching it):

    One season before Kevin Smith refers to Brad on Comic Book Men (his TV show)

  • http://www.seensome.com SeenSome

    Listener Question:

    Kind of a 3 in 1...

    With Naomi Harris confirming this week that Idris Elba has met with the Bond producers - despite Daniel Craig being signed for two more movies - do you think there will ever be a black Bond, would that work and is Elba the only candidate? If Craig sticks around for two more, Elba will be almost 50.

    • http://www.seensome.com SeenSome

      Over / Under :

      May have been done before...

      18 - Total number of movies in the Marvel Avengers series.

      There have been six already (Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America & The Avengers) with another six in various stages of development (IM3, Thor 2, Cap 2, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Avengers 2 & Ant Man).

      60% - Rotten Tomatoes rating for the planned Justice League movie.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Xarnis/ Xarnis

    1. 3 Oscar nominations for Moonrise Kingdom
    2. 5 years until there are 10 best picture nominees

    Watch this or watch that
    The Godfather or Goodfellas
    War Horse or The Impossible
    Looper or 12 Monkeys

    Would you rather
    Be stuck in a good movie that replays over and over, or a bad movie that never ends (the story continus forever)

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Xarnis/ Xarnis

    3 Oscar nominations for Moonrise Kingdom
    5 years until there are 10 best picture nominees

    Would you rather
    Be stuck in a good movie that replays over and over, or a bad movie that never ends (the story continus forever)

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/T-1000/ TJ

    Listener question: I've noticed that a lot of movie reviewers spoil important plot points when describing a movie's plot without even realizing it. Do you find it sometimes hard to not spoil parts of a movie when writing a review or is this just careless writing? Where do you draw the line on describing the story without spoilers?

    Watch This or Watch That- Halloween Edition
    28 Days Later or The Night of the Living Dead
    Poltergiest or The Ring
    Nightmare on Elm Street or Texas Chainsaw Massacre
    Halloween or Friday the 13th
    The Shining or The Exorcist
    Young Frankenstein or Shaun of the Dead (for Laremy)

  • Me_Or_Something_Like_Me

    I would argue it is perhaps a good thing to waver control between studio execs (the "non-creatives") versus the artists ("the creatives") because I think a lack of control would lead to more "ships" (studios) sinking like Cimino in Heaven's Gate (although I partly like Heaven's Gate); even if it means we get some Battleships or the next Adam Sandler family comedy.

    I think Cloud Atlas, although it appears to be a critical darling, is not going to prosper and would most likely sink the studio.


    • Me_Or_Something_Like_Me

      I should clarify... I mean a movie like Cloud Atlas has very limited appeal and if the artists were unfettered or unrestrained the movie budget would be even bigger and risk a lot of other productions.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/the%20colleague/ the colleague

    So... I had some time to kill and thought it would be a fun idea to go through the summer box office draft and see what the final (or as close to final) numbers look like now that almost all movies are out of cinemas. I also listened to the draft itself again and there were some interesting comments made, mostly by Laremy. Here are some choice quotes and a link to my calculations.


    - Laremy on Avengers: "I will take The Avengers. I feel really good about that; that should be at least a 600 or 700 million dollar movie." The size of this one was impossible to predict. And even though Laremy went pretty high, he still managed to end up short by more than twice that amount.

    - Laremy on Brad choosing Brave: "I'd say 600 million worldwide is minimum for that film." It came close to that minimum, but if you're Pixar, you can't be too happy about that, right?

    - Laremy contemplating on taking Battleship, which, up to that point, had already made $170 mil. internationally.
    Laremy: "This is a big pick. I think it all hinges on this right now."
    Brad: "I think it's interesting neither one of us has taken Battleship already."
    Laremy: "That's what I'm gonna do right now. I mean, regardless of what we think of it, it's gonna make some money, so I'll take Battleship... and I'll choke to death while I do it."

    - Brad taking G.I. Joe, only to replace it later with Step Up Revolution... I tried applying the formula for the first G.I. Joe, and that one would have ended about $135 mil. in the red. Taking that into consideration, do you still plan to draft it in the spring, Brad?

    - Laremy on Bourne: "For my sixth film I'll take Bourne Legacy. Budget should be low and it should make half a bill." The first part was correct. I wonder, if you're the head of Universal, what do you do? Try and lure Damon back, if that is even possible at this point? Continue on with Renner, but with a reduced budget? Recast? It's a mighty steep fall from 442 to 251 million.

    - Laremy choosing Rock of Ages:
    Laremy: "And then I'm going to take... ugh, god, I'm between two films and they're both not ones I wanna take... I'll take Rock of Ages. I mean... yeah."
    Brad: "'Cause we're playing the international game here, I don't know if that's a good pick or a bad pick." Mamma Mia this wasn't, that's for sure. I wonder, since ABBA is mostly pop, how much of an influence did that have, if at all? Maybe rock fans aren't all that into musicals?

    - Brad on That's My Boy: "I'm going to take That's My Boy, which is the one I'm wondering, 'cause Sandler is usually good for a hundred million." The only big mistake on Brad's part, but given that his other two losers collectively lost less than $45 mil. it didn't make too big of a dent. And like you said, people usually go to see Sandler do his schtick. On a side note, I don't know if either one of you will remember this, but on one of the podcasts Brad discovered an "Adam Sandler Movie Generator". One of the movie titles it spewed out was "Son of a Daddy", which is the exact literal translation they used here in Croatia for That's My Boy. :)

    - Laremy choosing Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter as his last pick:
    Laremy: "I'll take Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter."
    Brad: "Okay. I didn't have that one on mine."
    Laremy: "I think it could do okay internationally. And it couldn't have cost much." For a short time he considered choosing Madea instead, which would have actually been a better pick and would have made him $15 mil., more or less like The Dictator did for Brad.

    A few more observations (most of these are common knowledge):

    - only 4 movies were originals, with others all based on some kind of preexisting property (comic book, toys, fairy tale, remake, sequel,...); of the originals, Brad had 3 (The Dictator, That's My Boy, Brave) and Laremy had The Campaign

    - box office take of comic book based movies amounted to 46% of total box office, almost $4 billion, with an average take of about $1 billion per picture; out of those 46%, The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises were responsible for 65% of the gross, more than $2.5 billion

    - animated movies made little over $2 billion, with an average take of almost $700 million per picture

    - movies released in 3D made almost twice as much as those released in 2D ($5,638,404,019 vs $2,969,367,641)

    - 9 movies were released in 3D (Laremy had 5)

    - 14 movies were rated PG or PG-13 (Laremy had 8), while 6 were rated R (Brad had 4)

    - only 4 movies made less than a $100 mil. at the box office, all of them comedies or having comedic elements (What to Expect When You're Expecting, That's My Boy, Rock of Ages, The Campaign)

    - Brad had the movie with the smallest profit (The Dictator) and also the one with the smallest loss (What to Expect When You're Expecting); Laremy was the exact opposite with The Avengers and Battleship

    - Battleship lost almost as all the double digit losers combined (219 vs. 227 mil.)

    - The Campaign is the only movie without a confirmed budget (at least according to Box Office Mojo)

    A small question for Brad: have you perhaps thought about using box office data from BoxOffice.com? They appear to list the total movie budget (production + marketing), even for The Campaign. Admittedly, I don't know how reliable those numbers are, just thought I'd ask.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Mv11391/ Michael


    Jessica Chastain is one of the most talented actresses (actor, sorry, Laremy) i've seen in a long time and beautiful, is she the next Meryl Streep, Amy Adams or Julianne Moore in terms of making tons of movies a year, working with great directors and getting a lot of nods (she'll possibly get her 2nd Oscar nod in back to back years with Zero Dark Thirty if she gives indeed an Oscar-worthy performance.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Mv11391/ Michael

    Sorry forgot to add the question mark:



    Jessica Chastain is one of the most talented actresses (actor, sorry, Laremy) i've seen in a long time and beautiful, is she the next Meryl Streep, Amy Adams or Julianne Moore in terms of making tons of movies a year, working with great directors and getting a lot of nods (she'll possibly get her 2nd Oscar nod in back to back years with Zero Dark Thirty if she gives indeed an Oscar-worthy performance)?

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Travis/ Travis

    Just had an idea for an interesting game. It kind of goes along with Watch This or Watch That. It is a variation on Screw, Marry, Kill-Watch, Buy, Destroy. You get three films. You pick one film to watch only once more, one you must buy, and one that you will destroy forever.

    I'll give you a couple to start out with:
    War Horse, Alex Cross, Mamma Mia
    Stealth, Human Centipede, LOL
    New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn-Part 1
    Magnolia, Breathless, O Brother Where Art Thou? (combining your favorite films)

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Quickslay/ Quickslay

    You should watch Quentin Tarantinos Episode of "ER"...it is pretty good.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Elijah/ Elijah

    *It's probably pretty easy to name your least favorite or favorite films, but what's one particular one that was so mediocre, so "C-grade" that it should probably just be an "F"? Personal example would be "Burlesque", which is the essential definition of "blah", or "Valkerie" which I'm in the middle of and it ain't lookin' good...

    * Have any favorite existential movie inside a movie ala Adaptation? In light of Seven Psychopaths (which was pretty darn good imo).

    * What's the summer box office race look like? Any defined winner?

    * Name a living or deceased artist/singer/whatever who you would genuinely like to see made into an oscar-baiting biopic.

    * Question to both Brad/Laremy: In the name of Halloween what are your favorite 5 horror films? Any obscure ones?

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Elijah/ Elijah

      Also why have you only reviewed one of the Resident Evil films? Is it somehow acceptable for your quasi-serious film critic standards to see Pirannha 3DD but not have the common decency to see the 5th installment? You need to give this film a chance because it's brilliant ;-)