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

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline: SPOILER Episode 10

April 7, 2016
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“Going outside is highly overrated” 

This week we're reading Ernest Kline's "nerdgasm" of a book, Ready Player One.  As Rachael and Andy get in touch with their inner geek, Paul has been frittering away more of his short time on this earth collating every pop culture reference in the book and putting them into another of his legendary remixes (see video version below…).

Meanwhile, the dystopian setting of Ready Player One leads Rachael to consider the popularity of dystopian settings in teen fiction, and there's an unscheduled interruption from Andy…

This week's rating scale: Tron or Tron: Legacy?

Mad Max: Fury Road: SPOILER Episode 9

March 24, 2016
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"He's a crazy smeg who eats schlanger!"

This week we're enjoying/enduring George Miller's 2015 action movie Mad Max: Fury Road, and it turns out to be one of our most divisive subjects yet as Rachael catches her breath long enough to expresses disbelief at its Best Picture Oscar nomination and Andy tries to shake the image of the so-called feminist movie's "hosing down" scene.  Meanwhile, Paul ponders who exactly the Organic Mechanic was.

Later, inspired by George Miller's frankly bizarre filmography, Andy takes a look at some other directors who have made weird stylistic shifts.  

This week's rating scale:  George Miller, Johnny Lee Miller, Sienna Miller or Windy Miller?


Dumbo: SPOILER Episode 8

March 10, 2016
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"Aw, c'mon. Elephants ain't got no feelings"


This week we’re watching the 1941 Disney classic Dumbo.  This “kids film” is one of fully-grown man Andy’s all-time favourites, but will it win over a sceptical Paul and “emotionally available” Racheal?


Meanwhile, Andy takes a look at some of Walt Disney’s most pant-wettingly scary moments, and Racheal sets a Disney music quiz, pitting Andy, who has a large collection of Disney DVDs in numbered order, against Paul who “doesn’t watch kids films”...


This week’s scale: Champagne, Cava or Blue Nun


  


This Is England ‘90: SPOILER Episode 7

February 25, 2016
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“Well, we got a year of happiness”


This week we’re watching the (possible) finale of Shane Meadows’ This Is England series, This Is England ’90.  The 4-part series sends Paul, Andy and Rachael on an emotional rollercoaster, from the highs of “It’s Mr Squires in a cupboard!!” to the lows of THAT dinner table scene.


Meanwhile, Andy takes a personal look at the life and career of the musician and longtime Shane Meadows collaborator Gavin Clark.


This week’s scale: Stone Roses or Brother Beyond?

Melancholia: SPOILER Episode 6

December 3, 2015
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"It tastes like ashes"

This week it's the end of the series, and the end of the world, as we watch controversial director Lars Von Trier's apocalyptic drama "Melancholia".  Part of Von Trier's unofficial "depression trilogy", this film is hardly a giggle-fest, but leaves a deep impression on the whole team and leads Andy to talk about how movies have helped him through some difficult times.

Meanwhile, inspired by Melancholia's soundtrack, Rachael lifts the mood as she quizzes Paul and Andy on some famous classical music pieces in movies.

This week's rating scale: Golf clubs

Recommended...
    

Stoner by John Williams: SPOILER Episode 5

November 19, 2015
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"She turned to him and pulled her lips into what he knew must be a smile"

This week we're reading John Williams' sleeper hit "Stoner" which, contrary to Paul's assumption, is not a "1990s drug romp", but a 1965 novel about the quiet, unassuming life of a quiet,unassuming man, William Stoner.  The book was largely ignored at the time of its original publication and famously took nearly half a century to become a hit, which leads Rachael to consider some other literary late bloomers.

Meanwhile Paul takes it upon himself, apropos of nothing, to put together a bangin' dance remix of the Stoner audiobook…

This week's rating scale: How much would you pay for it?

Some Like It Hot: SPOILER Episode 4

November 5, 2015
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"You tore off one of my chests!"


This week we don our wives' best frocks and stockings as we watch the 1959 Billy Wilder comedy Some Like It Hot.  Although acknowledged as a classic of its time, it turns out Spoiler's Andy Goulding hates this film with a passion, which gives rise to a discussion about which popular movies other members of the team think are all fur coat and no knickers. Meanwhile, continuing his dismissal of the movie, Andy explains why he thinks Some Like It Hot's famous "Nobody's Perfect" punchline is overrated.

This week's rating scale: Instruments in a jazz orchestra





Recommended...

Back To The Future Trilogy: SPOILER Episode 3

October 21, 2015
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"I guess you guys aren't ready for that yet. But your kids are gonna love it"

This week we're binge-watching the entire Back To The Future Trilogy and, while there's no argument about the brilliance of the original, we ask whether Parts II and III were actually any good or not.  Meanwhile, Producer Jonny takes a close look at the weird world of George McFly actor Crispin Glover, and Rachael discovers an alternate reality where a different actor played Marty.

This week's rating scale: Between 76 and 88



Recommended...

Us by David Nicholls: SPOILER Episode 2

October 8, 2015
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“While there was breath in my body, she would never lack sufficient AA batteries.”

This week we're reading David Nicholls much anticipated novel "Us", the story of middle aged Biochemist Douglas Peterson whose wife announces her intention to leave him when their teenage son leaves home for University – but first there's the small matter of taking one final family holiday together.

We discuss how the novel measures up to Nicholl's previous smash hit One Day, and Rachael takes a look at some strategies other authors have used to deal with the pressure of writing a follow-up.  Meanwhile, Paul reveals that the book made him cry, and takes the opportunity to list 10 TV shows which also cause him to blub like a little girl.

This week's rating scale: McGuffins



Whiplash: SPOILER Episode 1

September 22, 2015
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"Were you rushing or were you dragging…?"

In our first ever episode we explore Damien Chazelle's 2014drama Whiplash.  The film stars MilesTeller as Andrew Neiman, an ambitious young jazz drummer, and JK Simmons asFletcher, his passionate but abusive instructor.

As well as discussing the film, we also talk to an actualreal-life jazz drummer about his feelings towards the movie, and Pauldemonstrates his drumming prowess on his 6 year old daughter's drum kit.  After all, anyone can play the drums – right?

Meanwhile, Andy highlights a favourite but often forgottendrumming scene from the 1941 movie Ball of Fire featuring the legendary"Gene" Krupa.

This week's rating scale: How many times did you check your phone during the movie.

Here's a trailer to whet your appetite...


Recommended...

WELCOME TO SPO!LER…

July 9, 2015
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...A new podcast which discusses movies, books and TV shows in their entirety - without fear of spoilers.  We're currently busy preparing the show and hope to launch in September.  Keep checking back here for updates.