Birdman (2014, Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Edward Norton): SPOILER Episode 31

July 27, 2017
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“A man becomes a critic when he cannot be an artist”

It’s the end of series 5 and the Spoiler team celebrate this momentous landmark by returning to our very first episode in which Paul, in a fit of pique over Alejandro Iñárritu’s ‘Birdman’ beating ‘Whiplash’ to the Best Picture Oscar, hinted at his dislike for the film, Rachael defended it and Andy declared himself undecided. Nearly two years down the line, how have the team’s opinions changed?

Despite still feeling that it’s “too actory”, Paul surprises everyone by absolutely loving ‘Birdman’ second time round, while Andy (for whom this is the fourth time round) has decided the film is “tonally weird”. Rachael highlights the importance of the excellent performances and the team all agree that Michael Keaton is an underrated talent, even if this may be the first role he could really get his teeth into since ‘Beetlejuice’. Paul reminisces about recording TV theme tunes on his ZX Spectrum tape recorder, Rachael tries to keep her heartbeat in check as it attempts to mimic ‘Birdman’s rhythmic drum score and Andy attempts to think of a better alternative ending for the film than Birdman on the toilet. The series ends with the team in tears of laughter as Paul unleashes his unexpected rating scale.

Elsewhere, Andy takes a look at the ‘it was all a dream’ trope in movies and TV shows and examines the theory of the ‘Tommy Westphall Universe’ which suggests that 90% of the audiovisual entertainment we love is taking place inside the head of one young boy.

This week’s scale: Birdman or Bird-bob man

Romeo & Juliet (1996, Baz Luhrmann, Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes): SPOILER Episode 30

July 13, 2017
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“If love be rough with you, be rough with love”

Three reviewers, alike in temperament (if not always in opinion), sit down this week to talk some serious culture as the Spoiler team take a look at Baz Luhrmann’s Shakespeare adaptation ‘Romeo + Juliet’. Paul wonders just how many meads he must have had when he suggested we tackle the Bard, while Andy shares his concerns that talking Shakespeare could expose the fact he’s not as clever as he’s often credited with being. Self-proclaimed Shakespeare traditionalist Rachael struggles with the MTV style of Luhrmann’s film but applauds his contribution to making the Bard’s work the visual experience it was always intended to be. While Paul bemoans the fact that Radiohead’s ‘Exit Music (For a Film)’ is not as deep as he once thought but delights in the fact that Billy Bragg’s ‘Between the Wars’ gets even better with age, Andy questions whether Rachael’s interest in the ‘Hollow Crown’ series has more to do with her love of language or the presence of a certain Mr. Hiddleston. And the team debate whether the word ‘punished’ is made more dramatic by the addition of an extra syllable.

Elsewhere, Rachael takes a look at some less-obvious Shakespeare adaptations that reinterpret the Bard’s work in a looser fashion, including ‘10 Things I Hate About You’ and ‘The Lion King’.

This week’s scale: True love or “All are punish-ed”