Humans Season 1 (2015): SPOILER Episode 20

December 1, 2016
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“I’m watching you”

This week we’re watching series one of Channel 4 and AMC’s sci-fi drama ‘Humans’ and for the first time in months the Spoiler team are a house divided. While Rachael finds the series gripping and thought-provoking to the extent that she spends entire evenings mulling it over, Andy arrives with a laundry list of pernickety issues which he wants to go through “systematically”.  Meanwhile, Paul is still enjoying that marvellous view from the fence.

While the team manage to find some common ground, things get particularly heated in relation to the quality of acting in the series and Rachael and Andy turn in their own auditions for the roles of Mia and Leo respectively. Suspicions are raised that producer Jonny might be conducting a dual affair with both Andy and a home-made Gemma Chan synth and Paul wonders why, with all this talk of robots, no-one has seen fit to mention Metal Mickey.

Elsewhere in a packed show, Rachael reveals her top 5 sympathetic synthetics and Andy takes a look at the underappreciated art of the TV recap sequence. Also, Rachael trails her upcoming Spoiler Score Special, in which she’ll be talking to film and TV composers including Stephen Rennicks, Debbie Wiseman and Deborah Lurie.

This week’s scale: Will we be watching series 2?

Withnail & I (1987): SPOILER Episode 19

November 18, 2016
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“I’m in a park and I’m practically dead”

The Spoiler team are back from holiday but we’re off on holiday again… by mistake. This week we’re watching Bruce Robinson’s “plotless” black comedy ‘Withnail and I’, starring Richard E. Grant, Paul McGann and Richard Griffiths.

While Paul reluctantly recalls his own experiences of squalid living conditions in the 90s, the “far-from-teetotal” Andy confesses his initial confusion with his subsequently beloved home video edition of the film. Rachael sets about translating chunks of public schoolboy Latin and Paul hits a new broadcasting low with a dull conversation about zippo lighters that rivals the late-night ramblings of Camberwell Carrot devotees. The team also imagine an alternative universe where Withnail was played by Kenneth Branagh and ask whether Paul McGann’s character would have been better left nameless.

Elsewhere,the perennially sober Rachael counts down her top 5 movie drunks and, inspired by Richard Griffiths’ performance as Uncle Monty, Andy takes a look at the often uncomfortable relationship between cinema and homosexuality.

This week’s scale: 1953 Margaux or lighter fluid

 

The Breakfast Club (1985): SPOILER Episode 18

August 11, 2016
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"Screws fall out all the time. The world is an imperfect place"

This week we join the brat pack in John Hughes' 1985 coming of age comedy drama The Breakfast Club.

We discover that this movie is more than just daft haircuts and angry power chords as Paul, who loved The Breakfast Club as a teenager, finds watching it again all these years later a therapeutic experience and he finally accepts he WAS Brian.  Meanwhile, Rachael reveals she was a straight A student and Andy discusses his love/hate relationship with the movie.

Later, Paul decides to dress up as Ally Sheedy, which worries a confused Andy who had a crush on the actress, and, as he unleashes his anger at the makeover of his beloved ("a lovely woman ruined"), Racheal takes a look at some other movie makeover scenes including Grease, She's All That, Pretty In Pink and Muriel's Wedding.

Andycontinues his hot & cold relationship with The Breakfast Club by discussinghis frustration at the ending, and looks at some other movies withdisappointing denouements, including It's a Wonderful Life and the first twoSuperman movies.  And is that a chickendrumstick in Judd Nelson's hand at the end?

We love a bit of movie trivia on Spoiler, and The Breakfast Club is a veritable trivia-fest, as we discover that Rick Moranis, John Cusack and Laura Dern were all in the frame for roles in the movie, that Simple Minds weren't the original choice to record "Don't You Forget About Me", and we even find out the make and model of Brian's pen.

Andwe end this series with another of our fiercely fought music quizzes. Thistime, Andy tests Paul and Rachael's knowledge of 80s movie themes and raisesthe stakes with two specially made mix tapes as prizes: "The Best of the80s" for the winner, and "The Worst of the 80s" for the loser,which they MUST promise to listen to in its entirety, despite it including"Daddy's Home" by Cliff Richard.

This week's scale: The Breakfast Club or School of Rock

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Room by Emma Donoghue (2010 book) and Room (2015 film): SPOILER Episode 17

July 28, 2016
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"When I was small, I only knew small things"

This week we're watching and reading "Room" by Emma Donoghue as we take a look at both the original 2010 book and the 2015 film adaptation starring Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay.

The team approach this powerful story with trepidation, especially Paul who was unable to bear the tension of watching the film from start to finish. Andy and Rachael find themselves feeling so protective towards Jack and Ma that they didn't want to close the book and "leave them on their own".  And as we compare and contrast the book with the movie version, we look at what was lost in the adaptation to the big screen, but also what was gained in the brilliant performances of all the cast,in particular the outstanding Jacob Tremblay.

Meanwhile, inspired by some of the themes in Room, Andy takes a nostalgic look back at a room which played a big part in his life.

This week's scale: Book or Film

Vertigo (1958): SPOILER Episode 16

July 14, 2016
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"I'm not gonna crack up"

This week we're watching Alfred Hitchcock's psychological thriller Vertigo starring Kim Novak and James Stewart.

Hitchcock virgin Paul is confused by the appearance of Gavin Estler from BBC News 24, Andy reveals that Hitchcock was forced to shoot a rubbish alternate ending which thankfully was never used, and the team consider whether the whole thing could have been avoided if the creepy Nuns had just kept the bell tower door locked.

Meanwhile, Rachael lasts a whole 3 minutes before mentioning the soundtrack, which leads her to take a closer look at the work of composer Bernard Herrmann, including his famous score for Hitchcock's Psycho. And Hitchcock fan Andy investigates the Director's penchant for making cameos in his movies.

This week's scale: "Vertigo" the movie or "Vertigo" the 2004 U2 song that represents the modern shame of a once great band who used to pay their taxes

Gladiator (2000): SPOILER Episode 15

June 30, 2016
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"At my signal, unleash hell"

The keyword this week is EPIC as we watch Ridley Scott's Gladiator, and we quickly discover that our very own Rachael actually worked on this movie!  She lets us in on the experience of making a wig for the modest and self-effacing Russell Crowe and decries the lack of credit given to wig makers in movies. 

Paul has been working on his best Maximus Decimus Meridius impression, eulogising Oliver Reed and spotting "The Voice of Iggle Piggle", and the team are mystified at Russell Crowe's Oscar win and come to the conclusion he won it mainly for "squinting a bit". And we hear about a cancelled sequel which would have featured a time travelling Maximus in Vietnam – which Paul swears he hasn't made up.

Meanwhile, Andy's verdict:  "It was good".

Elsewhere in a packed show, Rachael is inspired by one of the famous improvised lines in Gladiator to look at some more unplanned moments in movies, including Pretty Woman, Good Will Hunting and Harry Potter. And Andy is surprised by the appearance of UK comedian Omid Djalili in Gladiator and seeks out some more unexpected appearances of UK television stars in big Hollywood movies, including Leonard Rossiter and Keith Chegwin!

This week's scale:  Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down

Inside No. 9 Series 2: SPOILER Episode 14

June 16, 2016
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"I’m not a dwarf!"

This week we're watching Series 2 of Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith's dark comedy anthology Inside No. 9, concentrating first on the wet-your-pants-scary "Séance Time" which had the emotionally available Rachael slamming her laptop shut in terror.

In the second half of the show we move on to discuss perhaps the most talked-about episode of series 2, "The 12 Days of Christine", which has the team waxing lyrical about the outstanding class Sheriden Smith brings to this beautifully written and moving episode.

Later, Paul reveals how he once spent a lunch break stalking Reece Shearsmith through the streets of Nottingham, and the team are horrified by Andy's revelation that he doesn't find fart jokes funny!

Meanwhile, inspired by Inside No. 9's claustrophobic settings, Andy takes a look at other TV shows which have attempted so-called "bottle episodes", including Porridge, One Foot In The Grave, Seinfeld and Red Dwarf.

This week's scale: Laugh or Scream

Moon (2009): SPOILER Episode 13

June 2, 2016
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"You look like a radioactive tampon"

This week we're watching Duncan Jones' 2009 British sci-fi drama Moon starring Sam Rockwell.

Paul thanks his drink-ravaged brain for the opportunity to enjoy this film’s twists all over again, while Rachael enjoys the “juicy” soundtrack of this little masterpiece.  Meanwhile, Negative Nancy Andy nearly falls out with Paul over his tiny niggles about this “too blinkin’ good" movie.

Later, inspired by Sam Rockwell’s long career as a supporting actor before landing the lead in Moon, Andy looks at some other successful second fiddles.

This week's scale: Venus, Mars or Uranus?

Cabaret (1972): SPOILER Episode 12

May 5, 2016
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"Have you ever slept with a dwarf?"

This week we step back into 1930s Berlin with Bob Fosse's 1972 musical Cabaret, and Paul finds increasingly elaborate ways to describe his dislike of the lead character Sally Bowles (Liza Minnelli) while Rachael and Andy try valiantly to argue the film's merits.  Meanwhile, Rachael takes a look at some musicals which may just win over Paul and his fellow musicals haters,and we round off the series with another of our hotly contested Music Quizzes,this time Paul takes on Rachael in a series of questions set by Andy who,sportingly, has attempted to tip the odds in Paul's favour…

This week's scale: Parp or Gong?

A Separation: SPOILER Episode 11

April 21, 2016
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"It got serious"

This week we step into the relatively unexplored and perhaps underappreciated world of Iranian Cinema as we watch Asghar Farhadi's "A Separation", and it's fair to say it's an all-round love-in as the team struggle to fault this powerful and complex drama.  Meanwhile, Andy takes a look at the thriving Iranian sub-genre of movies featuring a child's-eye view of the world dubbed The Cinema of Childhood.

This week's scale: No scale