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The SPOILER Awards - Lockdown Special (Episode 56)

The SPOILER Awards - Lockdown Special (Episode 56)

May 22, 2020

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Hello and welcome to the first ever Spoiler awards”

In this special lockdown edition of Spoiler, an isolated and delusional Andy fantasises that he is the host of a large scale awards ceremony, The Spoilers, celebrating the cream of the talent involved in the films, TV shows and novels we’ve discussed in our previous fifty-five episodes. Created in conjunction with a feature we ran on our Facebook and Twitter pages in which listeners were asked to vote on nominees in various categories, The Spoilers features big name guests (most of whom decline to make speeches), musical interludes, cornball comedy and a chance to look back at some of the discussions that have made our little show the award-nominated phenomenon that it is! With Rachael, Paul and Jonny all reluctantly dragged along for Andy’s egotistical evening in the spotlight, we hope you’ll join us too to toast the winners, commiserate with the losers and relive those moments from the first five years (how long?!!) of Spoiler that helped us build a new podcast and new friendships. Stay safe everyone.

Pride (2014, Ben Schnetzer, Dominic West, Andrew Scott): SPOILER Episode 55

Pride (2014, Ben Schnetzer, Dominic West, Andrew Scott): SPOILER Episode 55

January 10, 2020

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“When you're in a battle against an enemy so much bigger, so much stronger than you, to find out you had a friend you never knew existed, that's the best feeling in the world.”

Fans of fun, come on in! In our series 8 finale, the Spoiler team are watching Matthew Warchus’s biographical comedy-drama ‘Pride’ and there’s not a doubt in anyone’s mind that the whole team are going to love it. A traditional Spoiler love-in becomes a full-on celebration of love as the team share the moments that made them cry, laugh and cheer. Paul enthuses about the soundtrack, leading Andy to share his research on whether King, Queen, Prince and Princess have ever all been in the top 40 at the same time. Politics inevitably rears its head, with Rachael delivering a passionate viewpoint on the miners strike, while Paul defends his right to watch films on his phone. Andy waxes lyrical about the beauty of buying someone a pint and everyone takes a moment out to remember the genius of Victoria Wood. After a series in which every episode has seen the team divided, Pride at last unites the group for an uplifting finale.

Elsewhere, Andy looks at the growing prominence of LGBTQ representation in children’s TV shows, including ‘Arthur’, ‘The Legend of Korra’ and ‘Steven Universe’.

This week’s scale: Did it fill you with pride or Could you not abide pride so much you cried and you thought it was snide no matter how hard you tried you’ve gone against the tide no matter how well you hide inside you’ve died, your brains have been fried all because you couldn’t be plied with Pride!

Dark Season 1 (2017, Netflix Original Series): SPOILER Episode 54

Dark Season 1 (2017, Netflix Original Series): SPOILER Episode 54

December 5, 2019

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“What if everything that came from the past was influenced by the future.”

This week we’re heading to Winden for the time-travelling Netflix drama ‘Dark’ and not everyone is overly impressed with this cult phenomenon. While Rachael is a dedicated fan immersed in the twists and turns of the show’s convoluted family tree, Andy is completely baffled, bored and ultimately bedraggled by his attempts to wade through all ten episodes. And while Paul is on the fence once again, he is disappointed by the fact that the series can travel to three completely different eras and not find a scrap of humour in any of them. While Andy moans endlessly about how thin and uninteresting the characters are, Rachael fights a gallant but losing battle to convince the others that ‘Dark’ is worth the hype. Paul considers whether an electric chair is an appropriate parenting aid and Andy weighs up whether he’d rather face the gallows or season 2 of ‘Dark’. Rachael bemoans the quality of the English dub and extols the importance of setting the language options correctly, something which a bewildered Andy has trouble with. Paul wonders if he’d look good in Jonas’s yellow coat. And while not everyone loves ‘Dark’, the whole team can at least agree on the greatness of Cyndi Lauper.

Elsewhere, Andy and Jonny go on a quest through time to find a lost gem amongst time-travel movies of the past, including ‘Biggles: Adventure in Time’, ‘12:01pm’ and ‘Timescape’.

This week’s scale: Dunkel (Dark) or Leicht Bewölkt (Slightly Overcast)

Top Gun (1985, Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer): SPOILER Episode 53

Top Gun (1985, Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer): SPOILER Episode 53

November 7, 2019

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“You don't have time to think up there. If you think, you're dead.”

This week we’re watching Tony Scott’s action drama ‘Top Gun’ and, while the whole team is in agreement that Tom Cruise is a classic movie star, not everyone thinks this is a classic movie. Surprisingly, it's Andy who enjoyed it the most, leaving Rachael and Paul agog at his enthusiasm. Rachael recalls her old headmaster’s love of the film, while Paul relates his bizarre experience at a Tom Cruise lookalike competition. Rachael is shocked at just how cheesy and sweaty ‘Top Gun’ is, while Andy sets aside his appreciation of the film to examine the significant shortcomings of the script, which he feels contains one of the most offensive lines in 80s cinema. The whole team wince at Maverick’s obnoxious toilet-invading persistence and a steamy scene of stomach-turning snogging, before debating the relative merits of Val Kilmer. Paul shares his phobia of hot air balloons and everybody gets the giggles at the mere mention of the word “bogeys”. And the team discuss their hopes and reservations about the upcoming sequel ‘Maverick’.

Elsewhere, Andy takes a look at the relationship between cinema and flight, from the airborne derring-do of ‘Wings’ to the famous flying bicycles of ‘E.T.’

This week’s scale: Top Gun or Bottom Burp

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1902): SPOILER Episode 52

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1902): SPOILER Episode 52

October 3, 2019

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“Mr Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound!”

This week we’re reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes mystery ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ and in a strange twist of events Rachael arrives underprepared while Paul has conducted extensive research! Rachael confesses that she left it until the last minute to read the book but attributes her mixed reaction to years of watching film and TV adaptations of this story which have drained away the element of surprise. Andy, a fan of the Sherlock Holmes stories, explains why a mystery with such a disappointing ending still stands out among Conan Doyle’s canon and Paul coerces everyone into admitting that Sherlock Holmes is a bit of a git. Andy recreates his experience of visiting 221B Baker Street and what a disappointment it was meeting the “real” Dr. Watson, while Rachael wonders whether a demon dog is any more cause for “brown trousers time” than a regular dog that still goes for your throat. And just what is a Grimpen Mire? Paul, of all people, has looked it up!

Elsewhere, Rachael looks at some of literature’s greatest haunted houses, including ‘Jane Eyre’s Thornfield Hall, ‘The Woman in Black’s Eel Marsh House and Edgar Allan Poe’s House of Usher.

This week’s scale: As dapper as a deerstalker or As stinky as a pipe filled with shag tobacco that’s been left to rot in the Grimpen Mire

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018, Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee): SPOILER Episode 51

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018, Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee): SPOILER Episode 51

September 5, 2019

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“It goes on forever, six bloody minutes!”

This week we’re watching Bryan Singer and Dexter Fletcher’s Queen biopic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Not every member of the Spoiler team is a Queen fan and not everyone is a fan of this film either. While Rachael knows she’s being manipulated by the film but is happy to enjoy the experience, Andy unleashes a tirade against bad writing, overrated acting and cheap tactics. Paul, meanwhile, is on the fence but a wobblier fence that usual, with a dodgy recreation of Live Aid threatening to knock him off his splintered seat. The team finally find themselves in perfect harmony when they bond over some amazing isolated vocal tracks of Freddie Mercury and David Bowie, Rachael discusses the positive effect the film had on her nephew and Andy defends the film against accusations of homophobia. And, of course, we talk about those teeth!

Elsewhere, Paul takes a look back at Live Aid; the highs, the lows and the lasting legacy of the event.

This week’s scale: Aaaaaayyyyyyy-ooooooooohhhh or Oooooooohhh-nooooooooo

Singin’ in the Rain (1952, Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O’Connor): SPOILER Episode 50

Singin’ in the Rain (1952, Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O’Connor): SPOILER Episode 50

August 1, 2019

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“The sun’s in my heart and I’m ready for love”

The Spoiler team are back for series 8 and what better way to celebrate our 50th episode than by finally acknowledging the elephant in the recording studio that’s been hanging over Paul since series 1; Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly’s definitive film musical ‘Singin’ in the Rain’. It’s no secret that Andy and Rachael both adore this eternal classic but a self-sabotaging Paul is having none of it, putting off watching it until the first day back at work after the Christmas holidays and subsequently dismissing everything as annoying, bizarre and too yellow. That said, he just can’t get the ‘Good Morning’ song out of his head! Andy tells the story of his previous, magical viewing of the film on the big screen and Rachael warns of the dangers of trying to recreate the dance moves in real life. While everyone agrees that the central romance completely lacks chemistry, a grumpy Paul fails to get anyone else to say a bad word about Donald O’Connor’s Cosmo or the famous title routine, which he thinks Morecambe and Wise did better. And Andy gives Paul an intensive grilling with a specially-prepared set of notes designed to highlight the contradictions in our beloved host.

Elsewhere, Andy takes an in-depth look at a comparatively overlooked Hollywood musical, Mervyn LeRoy and Busby Berkley’s 1933 classic ‘Gold Diggers of 1933’.

This episode of Spoiler is brought to you by the letter C.

This week’s scale: Singin’ in the Rain or a wet Wednesday night in Wigan

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008, Dir: Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett): SPOILER Episode 49

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008, Dir: Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett): SPOILER Episode 49

November 22, 2018

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“We seem to have reached the age where life stops giving us things and starts taking them away.”

It’s the end of series 7 and the Spoiler team have finally got round to a Steven Spielberg film. So which classic have we gone for? ‘Jaws’? ‘Jurassic Park’? ‘Schindler’s List’ perhaps? No, we’ve opted for probably the most reviled film in this great director’s canon; the 2008 Indiana Jones revival ‘Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’. With the intention of giving this fan-lambasted underdog a fair hearing, the team discover much to enjoy in the extremely-flawed but lively romp including a charisma-oozing Harrison Ford, the return of Karen Allen to our screens, a would-be-iconic reintroduction of the beloved central character and some fun, exciting action scenes. Hell, they even loved the ants! But don’t despair ‘...Crystal Skull’ haters, there’s plenty of downsides to discuss including easily-deletable characters, ropey CGI, cliched plot developments, awful accents and, of course, that lead-lined refrigerator. Also discussed is the ongoing debate on whether this film is better or worse than ‘Temple of Doom’, how Rachael was in love with practically every cast member from the original trilogy and why the blazes Paul has still not seen ‘...Last Crusade’. And just what is The ‘Ratatouille’ effect? Andy explains.

Elsewhere, Andy becomes a treasure hunter himself as he goes searching for hidden Easter Eggs in vinyl albums by The Beatles, the Monty Python team and ELO.

This week’s scale: A £500 bottle of Cristal from Fortnum and Mason or a bottle of Blue Nun from the corner shop

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro (2015): SPOILER Episode 48

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro (2015): SPOILER Episode 48

November 8, 2018

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“Is it not better some things remain hidden from our minds?”

This week, against Paul’s express wishes, the Spoiler team have accepted a listener request and are reading Kazuo Ishiguro’s philosophical fantasy novel ‘The Buried Giant’. This dense meditation on collective memory pretty much splits the team three ways, with professed fantasy fan Rachael wishing for more fantastical elements and Andy, who is ambivalent at best about the fantasy genre, pleased to find the emphasis more on themes and ideas than on ogres and pixies. Paul, meanwhile, is perplexed and frustrated by the slow pace, the lack of action and the fact that everyone is so unnecessarily courteous. It doesn’t help that certain elements of the book also remind him of Chris de Burgh! Regardless of their opinions on the text itself, the team use it as a jumping-off point for interesting discussions on our reaction as human beings to concepts and events that we struggle to process. And everyone agrees that the numerous critical comparisons with ‘Game of Thrones’ are as lazy as DJs who play The Bangles ‘Manic Monday’ on a Monday morning.

Elsewhere, Rachael takes a sublimely uplifting look at Kazuo Ishiguro’s lesser-known stint as a jazz lyricist, with plenty of lovely musical interludes to enjoy.

This week’s scale: A giant in the world of fiction or a book that should be buried deep, deep in the ground

I, Daniel Blake (2016, Dir: Ken Loach, Dave Johns, Hayley Squires): SPOILER Episode 47

I, Daniel Blake (2016, Dir: Ken Loach, Dave Johns, Hayley Squires): SPOILER Episode 47

October 25, 2018

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Wasting my time, employers' time, your time. And all it does is humiliate me, grind me down. Or is that the point?”

This week, in a very special bumper episode of Spoiler, we’re watching Ken Loach’s 2016 drama ‘I, Daniel Blake’ and the team are all in agreement that it is one of the most important films of its era. With strong opinions coming from all sides, emotions run high as we discuss the benefits system, food banks, homelessness and dignity. Paul asks whether the depiction of job centre employees in ‘I, Daniel Blake’ is fair and Andy, who has been through several periods of unemployment, shares some of his own experiences of the system. Rachael celebrates the film’s refusal to pander to stereotypical expectations regarding the unemployed and everyone doffs their caps to the performances of Hayley Squires and Dave Johns, who make a film that could have seemed relentlessly bleak into something genuinely entertaining. Paul shares some of his much loved IMDB trivia about job centre water-coolers and the whole team share the specific moments in the film where they shed tears, including the already-famous food bank scene.

Elsewhere, Andy takes a look at some other screen depictions of unemployment including ‘Bicycle Thieves’, ‘Drifting Clouds’ and ‘Boys from the Blackstuff’.

This week’s scale: Why Aye, Daniel Blake or Nay Chance, Daniel Blake

Ex Machina (2015, Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac): SPOILER Episode 46

Ex Machina (2015, Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac): SPOILER Episode 46

October 11, 2018

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Isn't it strange, to create something that hates you?”

This week the Spoiler team are trying to get to grips with the intricacies of Alex Garland’s psychological sci-fi thriller ‘Ex Machina’ starring Domnhall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander and Oscar Isaac. A film that has long been on the Spoiler back-burner, ‘Ex Machina’ ultimately proves divisive among the team with Rachael and Paul enjoying it more than Andy, whom Paul declares has “lost it” after he declares that he doesn’t like ‘Black Mirror’ either. While Rachael yearns for a sci-fi film with a happy ending for a change, Paul promises to share a theory about one of the character’s fates that will blow the whole discussion wide open and may just provide that coveted glimmer of hope. There’s no hope for Andy though, who isn’t even completely convinced by Oscar Isaac’s acclaimed performance as the unpredictable genius Nathan. Paul takes a moment to flag up the overlooked fourth character Kyoko in a film that is often referred to as a three-hander and the team discuss how the illusion of synthetic bodies changes the nature of screen nudity.

Elsewhere, Rachael takes a look at unexpected dance scenes in films including ‘Pretty in Pink’, ‘Blast from the Past’ and ‘Love Actually’.

This week’s scale: Ideal viewing on a flight to Norway or “There’s Norway I’m watching that again”

Detectorists Series 1 (2014, Mackenzie Crook, Toby Jones, Rachael Stirling): SPOILER Episode 45

Detectorists Series 1 (2014, Mackenzie Crook, Toby Jones, Rachael Stirling): SPOILER Episode 45

September 27, 2018

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“Tea without sugar is just vegetable soup”

This week we’re watching the first series of Mackenzie Crook’s 2014 sitcom ‘Detectorists’ and, perhaps predictably, it’s a complete love-in. With no-one willing to criticise such a brilliant series just for the sake of it, Andy talks about how the show made him almost glad to have a cold, Rachael tells of how she overcame her initial misgivings about where the romantic subplot was heading and Paul once again proves that his aversion to recommendations is doing him more harm than good. The team discuss an encouraging trend towards more progressive attitudes in modern sitcoms and how ‘Detectorists’ refusal to undercut moments of genuine sentiment make it a truly adorable series. Meanwhile, Paul manages to get in another reference to ‘Horrible Histories’. And just what is a “Detoctorate”? Find out by downloading this episode.

Elsewhere, Andy takes an epic look at the more experimental side of sitcoms with reference to ‘I Love Lucy’, ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’, ‘MASH’ and ‘The Young Ones’.

This week’s scale: A gold dance or a year’s subscription to Ringpull Monthly

Labyrinth (1986, Jim Henson, Jennifer Connelly, David Bowie): SPOILER Episode 44

Labyrinth (1986, Jim Henson, Jennifer Connelly, David Bowie): SPOILER Episode 44

September 13, 2018

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“If she ever kisses you, I'll turn you into a prince. Prince of the Land of Stench!"

The Spoiler team are back for series 7 and we’re kicking off by watching Jim Henson’s 1986 fantasy adventure ‘Labyrinth’ starring David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly and an array of fantastic puppets.

As lifelong Jim Henson devotees, Rachael and Andy are suckers for this film, but due to a childhood trauma involving basketball and ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’, Paul needs a little more convincing. Andy relates how ‘Labyrinth’ made him a better, less pretentious critic while Rachael explains how Bowie is really the Goblin King pretending to be David Bowie. The relative merits of puppetry and CG are debated, Andy has something controversial to say about the ‘Paddington’ films and Rachael dips into the IMDB Parent’s Guide to see just what they have to say about that infamous codpiece. Ultimately, Paul’s inability to comprehend the idea of partying with goblins shines a light on how ‘Labyrinth’ may work better for those whose connection with their youth wasn’t severed by an encroaching obsession with Depeche Mode B-sides. Also, we answer the age-old question: Jennifer Connelly. Too much?

Elsewhere, in a touching tribute to the architect of her childhood, Rachael casts and affectionate eye over the life and work of Jim Henson and the affect the great man had on her personally.

This week’s scale: Golden Years or The Tin Machine of Stench

SPOILER Puppeteer Special: Nigel Plaskitt (Pipkins, Spitting Image, Little Shop of Horrors)

SPOILER Puppeteer Special: Nigel Plaskitt (Pipkins, Spitting Image, Little Shop of Horrors)

June 28, 2018

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In the run up to our series 7 première episode on Jim Henson’s ‘Labyrinth’, the Spoiler team are proud to present a very special episode on the art of puppetry in which Andy talks to British puppeteer, actor, producer and director Nigel Plaskitt about his long and varied career. Nigel discusses his work on the sophisticated pre-school series ‘Pipkins’ in which he played the iconic character Hartley Hare, including the pioneering approach the series took to the death of its presenter and the reason for Hartley’s distinctive, “manky” appearance. Nigel also reminisces about the excitement of being involved with the savagely satirical British comedy series ‘Spitting Image’, the experience of working on Hollywood classics ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ and ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ and the behind-the-scenes work that goes into setting up international versions of ‘Sesame Street’ and training new puppeteers for the stage musical ‘Avenue Q’. Other subjects include how Nigel upset Billy Ocean by pipping him to the number one spot, whether empathising too much with your puppets is a doorway to madness, and why the classic children’s series ‘Round the Bend’ still hasn’t been released on DVD. Nigel also talks for the first time about his new pre-school series ‘Monty and Co.’ and what it is like to work with a lawyer who has also written episodes of ‘Chucklevision’.

You can find out more about Nigel and his work at his website www.nigelplaskitt.com and about this new children’s series ‘Monty and Co.’ at www.montyandco.co.uk.

Boyhood (2014, Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke): SPOILER Episode 42

Boyhood (2014, Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke): SPOILER Episode 42

January 25, 2018

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"I just thought there would be more than this..." 

It’s the end of series six and the Spoiler team are going out on a high by looking at Richard Linklater’s experimental coming-of-age drama ‘Boyhood’. With a two hour plus film covering a twelve year timespan to get through, Andy and Rachael try desperately to make Paul come to terms with the fact that Linklater chose to open the soundtrack with Coldplay’s ‘Yellow’. With this stumbling block successfully traversed, the team get to grips with ‘Boyhood’s daunting scope, with Andy finding the film to be a valuable historical document of an era and Rachael asserting that, far from being about nothing as its harshest critics have suggested, ‘Boyhood’ is about everything. Paul declares Ethan Hawke’s performance to be a revelation, sparking a barrage of recommendations from long-term Hawke-fans Rachael and Andy, and Patricia Arquette is recognised by everyone as “quietly brilliant”. Andy sets about fixing Ethan Hawke’s failed attempt to put together a coherent compilation of solo Beatles songs and the relative merits of ‘Mull of Kintyre’ and ‘We All Stand Together’ are debated. Rachael condemns the repetitive trope of the alcoholic husband, while Paul, as a parent himself, sympathises with the paraphrased quote “Get in the car and cut the horse-poo atttitude”.

Elsewhere, Andy looks back at his love affair with indie cinema and attempts to define the elusive term ‘independent’.

This week’s scale: Coldplay’s ‘Yellow’ or Doves’ ‘The Cedar Room’

Amelie (2001, Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz): SPOILER Episode 41

Amelie (2001, Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz): SPOILER Episode 41

January 11, 2018

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"At least you'll never be a vegetable. Even artichokes have hearts!” 

The Spoiler team are dusting off their best GCSE French as this week we take a look at Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s quirky romantic comedy ‘Amelie’ starring Audrey Tautou and Mathieu Kassovitz. While this is one of Rachael’s favourite films of all time, the rest of the team might take a little more convincing. With Paul on the fence once more, whose side will he ultimately come down upon? Will it be Rachael’s side, where the allure of Parisian apartments and café culture looms large and there is ample room to project our fantasies and desires onto the lead characters? Or will Andy’s talk of non-entity romantic leads, kitten photographs and too many subplots coax Paul into his slightly more withered garden of doubt? Would Audrey Tautou have been better suited to silent cinema than the talkies? Is talking about Princess Diana as controversial as upsetting cat owners? Did art take over to stop this film from becoming a masterpiece (whatever the hell that means!)? We tackle all these burning issues as well as answering the ultimate question: kissing on the eyes… romantic or ooky?

Elsewhere, inspired by ‘Amelie’s enrapturing effect on her, Rachael counts down her top 5 feelgood French films to lift your spirits on those rainy days of the soul.

This week’s scale: Tres bien or Tres mal

Cool Hand Luke (1967, Paul Newman, George Kennedy): SPOILER Episode 40

Cool Hand Luke (1967, Paul Newman, George Kennedy): SPOILER Episode 40

December 28, 2017

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"He's a natural born world-shaker" 

This week we’re watching Stuart Rosenberg’s classic prison drama ‘Cool Hand Luke’ and the team are all getting steamed up over how devastatingly attractive Paul Newman is. But while Paul is happy to ogle him online and try to emulate his lean, he is not totally convinced by a film that seems like a badly stitched together set of sketches. In an attempt to get to the bottom of exactly why he didn’t connect with ‘Cool Hand Luke’, Paul asks Andy and Rachael to explain why the film is considered a classic. While Rachael goes straight to her beloved music and sings the praises of composer Lalo Schifrin’s jazzy score, Andy pinpoints performance as the key to the film’s brilliance. While no-one’s that taken with the heavy-handed religious angle, Andy and Rachael struggle to convince Paul that a symbol of oppression is worth anything if they happen to be dead. Still, everyone enjoys the egg-eating scene and, despite once believing it was impossible, Andy unearths details of the current record-holder in boiled egg eating, who has bested Luke’s record by some considerable distance. Also, the team discuss whether the life story of ‘Cool Hand Luke’ screenwriter Donn Pearce would make a better movie in itself.

Elsewhere, inspired by the numerous collaborations between Stuart Rosenberg and Paul Newman, Rachael looks at some other long-term actor-director partnerships.

This week’s scale: Cool Hand Luke or Cool Hand Puke

Django Unchained (2012, Quentin Tarantino, Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio): SPOILER Episode 39

Django Unchained (2012, Quentin Tarantino, Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio): SPOILER Episode 39

December 14, 2017

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“The D is silent”

This week we’re watching Quentin Tarantino’s revisionist western ‘Django Unchained’ starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio and the team are in two minds about its uncomfortable mixture of tones. While Paul wonders if presenting Spoiler has made him extra-sensitive, Rachael discusses her differing reactions to cartoonish splatter and realistic brutality, while Andy feels that the film merely uses slavery as a catalyst to stoke the flames of the audience’s bloodlust. While Rachael cringes at Tarantino’s decision to include jarring modern music on the soundtrack when he had access to the supreme Ennio Morricone, Andy suggests that Tarantino’s penchant for homage may undermine his own unique voice. Paul explains the etiquette of watching violent 18 rated films in coffee shops and the team discuss whether revenge films are morally acceptable in a society that is perhaps too in love with violence already. On the plus side, everyone adores Christoph Waltz. And is Quentin Tarantino really comparable to J.K. Rowling?

Elsewhere, Andy explores whether real life tragedy can ever be successfully combined with fiction, with reference to the ‘X-Men’ films, ‘Quantum Leap’ and Jerry Lewis’s lost item of cult obsession ‘The Day the Clown Cried’.

This week’s scale: Taranti-no or Taranti-yes

Wonder by R J Palacio (2012): SPOILER Episode 38

Wonder by R J Palacio (2012): SPOILER Episode 38

November 30, 2017

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“There should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives”

This week the Spoiler team are feeling inspired as we read R.J. Palacio’s children’s novel ‘Wonder’. Paul predicts that Andy, given his favourite film is ‘Dumbo’, will enjoy this (for the record, Paul’s favourite film is ‘Paddington’) and its themes of kindness make Rachael a shoo-in but Paul teases the group by managing to spin out his opinion for as long as possible. Still, all the misdirection in the world can’t ultimately hide the fact that everyone loved this book and tears flow freely as Paul deliberately skirts the issue of Daisy the dog’s passing, Andy recounts a childhood experience of prejudice and Rachael remembers her relationship with her own grandmother. Rachael illustrates the difference between bullying and a gentle ribbing by making fun of Paul's strange pronunciation of the word ‘Mobile’, while Andy wonders if the novel could have found a place for the voice of school bully Julian. On the subject of voices, Paul struggles with his usual routine of listening to the audio book when he finds the impersonation of a child’s voice unlistenable but fortunately the YouTube channel ‘Mrs. Powers Loves to Read’ comes to his rescue. And the team get to the bottom of the mystery of the strange man who has been seen around Lincoln punching the air and crying at birch trees.

Elsewhere, Rachael decries the modern phenomenon of replacing book covers with images from their movie adaptations, a dubious honour bestowed upon ‘Wonder’, ‘The Great Gatsby’ and ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’.

This week’s scale: A respectful abstention

Big (1988, Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins): SPOILER Episode 37

Big (1988, Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins): SPOILER Episode 37

November 16, 2017

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"What is so special about Josh Baskin?” “He’s a grown up!”

The Spoiler team are back and we all reckoned it was criminal that we still hadn’t looked at a Tom Hanks film yet. We’re rectifying this by kicking off series 6 with Penny Marshall’s 1988 fantasy comedy ‘Big’.

While Andy and Rachael both grew up with ‘Big’, Paul lives up to his reputation for procrastination by only having seen it for the first time a couple of days ago. While this precludes Paul from joining in with the rest of the team’s impromptu recreation of the ‘Shimmy Shimmy Coco Pop’ song, the magic of this charming film proves as effective on a 41 year old man as it was on two wide-eyed pre-teens. Andy reluctantly recounts his inadvertent encyclopaedic knowledge of body-swap comedies and reveals how he himself fared when he took on the Ice Wizard (spoiler: his hesitancy cost him dearly!). The team also discuss some of ‘Big’s more questionable elements, such as the scene of “hand-on-bra action” between a 13 year old boy and an adult woman. Rachael wonders whether switching the genders of the lead characters would have made a difference to audience reactions and, of course, highlights the importance of the score in diminishing our misgivings. While Andy tries desperately to stop a determined Paul from asking all the questions you’re not supposed to ask about the Zoltar machine, everyone appreciates the authenticity of the classic ‘Heart and Soul’ piano scene, bum notes and all, but Rachael wonders whether ‘Big: The Musical’ might have been a step too far.

Elsewhere, inspired by John Heard’s performance as Paul Davenport, Andy reveals his top 5 baddies who weren’t really that bad, including Walter Peck from ‘Ghostbusters’, the hyenas from ‘The Lion King’ and Eddie Cochran’s parents in the rock ‘n’ roll classic ‘Summertime Blues’.

This week’s scale: Big or Gib (and yes, it is a word!)