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125: Olivia Wilde’s ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ Worries. Plus: ‘Samaritan’ reviewed!

August 30, 2022
Notes
Transcript
On this week’s episode, Sonny Bunch (The Bulwark), Alyssa Rosenberg (The Washington Post), and Peter Suderman (Reason) discuss some old-fashioned Hollywood gossip. Why is so much drama swirling about Olivia Wilde and her new movie, Don’t Worry Darling? And is it, weirdly or not-so-weirdly, helping the movie increase awareness and sell tickets to viewers? Is it tawdry prattle or classic Hollywood gossip-mongering? Why not both! (For a quick primer on all the ins and outs and what-have-yous of this scandal, check this story out or sign up for Puck and read this one by Matthew Belloni.) 

After all that, we cleanse our palates with some actual movie talk: Samaritan, the new Sly Stallone film that dropped on Prime Video this week. Is it a must-watch or an easy skip? Make sure to swing by Bulwark+ on Friday for our special members-only bonus episode on the divergence between critics and audiences. If you enjoyed the episode, share it with a friend!

This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:11

    Welcome
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:11

    back to across the movie aisle presented by Bulwark Plus. I’m your host, Sunnybunch, culture editor of the Bulwark. I’m joined as always by list of Reservoir the Washington Post and Peter Sugarman of Reason magazine. Alyssa Peter, how are you today?
  • Speaker 3
    0:00:22

    I’m Jim Dandy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:23

    I am happy to be talking about movies with Friends.
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:26

    First up in controversy and controversy, Olivia Wild, the director of the modest indie hit book smart in the upcoming, don’t worry, Darling, has had a pretty tough couple of weeks. We tend to issue tabloid gossip on this show because that’s not really our bag. You know, that’s not what we do. But there’s a lot of it’s whirling around this movie it’s having a genuine or at least potentially genuine who knows. We’ll see what happens.
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:46

    Impact on the business of the movie. So give me a second while I walk you through all this. Alright. So Wilde’s follow-up to book smart was hugely desired by the studio’s eighteen bidders, all trying to get Olivia Wilde to direct this movie for them. There was a bidding war.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:03

    Theatrical guarantees were proffered, etcetera, etcetera. But almost from the beginning, there’s been trouble in Paradise. First, the film lost its leading man, Shia Labeouf, under mysterious circumstances. Scheduling issues recited, though at the time he was caught up in accusations of abuse of his girlfriend. We all remember that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:21

    Right? And then Shaya’s replacement, Harry Styles, embarked on an on set affair with Wilde that led to the dissolution of her relationship with a much beloved Jason Ciudakis who was writing a goodwill high thanks to Ted Glass So Wilde was served with custody papers while on stage at CinemaCon leading to embarrassment and headlines, etcetera, etcetera. Here’s the most gosh be part of all. Apparently, star Florence Pew has decided that she is not doing press for this movie outside of whatever she’s doing at Venice. Where it’s debuting.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:49

    In large part because of her annoyance with the way that Wilde and Styles carried on on set, as Matthew Bellini noted, in his newsletter, trying to film something as ambitious as this movie, which is something like a Shepard wives influenced sci fi thriller mystery drama. I don’t know. Trailers very interesting, which I’m sure is leading to some concern with the studio. Trying to shoot something as ambitious as this during COVID nineteen with all the precautions therein is hard enough, but to do it with the director and leading man simply disappearing for large stretches of time made it nearly impossible for the star of Florence Pew. For her part, Pew was staying silent aside from complaining about the early trial trailer that highlighted her character sexual side.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:30

    And the silence is conspicuous in the sense that she is thanking lots of people, co stars, the key grip. I don’t know the guy who gets her drinks on set, but not her director. On top of all that this week, Wilde decided to throw LeBuff under the bus and said he was fired from the movie because his process was destructive or something like that. And LeBuff responded by sending an email that insisted Wilde knows this is a lie. And then seems to have leaked a video.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:56

    I assume it came from him. I can’t imagine who else it would have come from. Leaked a video that Wilde had sent him begging him to stay on the production. Which he says he left because there wasn’t time to rehearse. And in this video, wild trash is one, quote, miss flow, end quote, perhaps hinting at why.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:13

    Pugh has no interest in sitting down for interviews about this film. And I worked lots of drama here. There’s lots of drama here. There’s lots of drama, there’s affairs, and there’s cap fights, and all sorts of stuff, you know, all sorts of stuff going on. But as Melanie reported in his newsletter, the quorum’s David Haren found awareness on this film has increased twenty four percent over the past week.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:30

    And of those who were now interested in seeing it, seventy percent said that they were newly interested because of all the drama I’ll just add add to all this, my own personal poll of one. My wife is a more aware of the movie and be more interested in going to see it precisely because she feels the need to keep up what’s going on in this world of kind of gossipy blogging. Alyssa, is this proof of the old saying that all news is good news?
  • Speaker 3
    0:03:55

    Man, I will be curious to see what happens with this. I I mean, I think it’s fascinating in part because wild is clearly running what I think is now an established playbook of sort of presenting herself as, well, a woman making, you know, tough decisions in a business that’s not necessarily friendly to that. And at a time when she is, you know, being treated badly by her former partner. Right? I mean, she’s running the like and I should say all of this may be true.
  • Speaker 3
    0:04:25

    Right? Like, we don’t know. Abjacent today because he said that he did not ask for her to be served as McCann and, like, in the beginning in the middle of a professional event may or may not be true. I can’t imagine that, like, he was particularly involved in the logistics of service to her since that’s something that would be handled by a lawyer he hired, who then hires process server. But, hey, maybe he decided he wanted to update her.
  • Speaker 3
    0:04:49

    Maybe, you know, the dynamic with Lebouf is more complicated than that video appears, and she really didn’t wanna get rid of him because it’s bad energy. But clearly, like, I think the playbook where, you know, you sell yourself as a director in part by pointing out sort of all of the obstacles that you had to go through to get a project made or to be making a project in the first place. That’s established as a thing, like it’s headlines. Whether it gets sympathy is another question, but I think there’s probably a demographic of moviegoers who are like, I wanna support this female directory even more because I think she has been wronged on some level. And I can sort of see why someone might go for that.
  • Speaker 3
    0:05:35

    Although Wilde seemed to kind of have been in a position where she didn’t necessarily have to. Right? I mean, like you said, there was a bidding war for this project. You know, I think she’s had a lot of support from her studio. The narrative around her was already pretty good.
  • Speaker 3
    0:05:51

    And so I think there was, like, another version of this where she could have played things like the, you know, getting paper served on her, could have played that cool and, you know, kind of emerge from it with a different vibe. Right? I mean, you know, Catherine Bigelow, you know, I think has made a bunch of, you know, interesting, well regarded movies. She was in a relationship with Mark Ball, her much younger screenwriter, and I believe they got together while working on either the Hurlocker or Zero Dark Thirty. And that is just not the narrative script that she plays at all ever.
  • Speaker 3
    0:06:24

    Right? I mean
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:25

    and Bigelow
  • Speaker 3
    0:06:26

    is a very different filmmaker. She is interested in masculinity. As a subject material in a way that, you know, Wilde is much more interested in femininity as subject material. You know, she did not come up as you know, an unusually good looking actress who is famous, like even more for her looks than for her acting ability. And so it’s possible that Wilde feels a need to reinvent herself more dramatically.
  • Speaker 3
    0:06:53

    And so I can both see why she might take this route, but Boy, does it seem like there are a lot of vulnerabilities in this particular path for her? Well, yeah,
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:02

    I mean, the thing that jumps out at me about the whole story this week, particularly about the Labeouf stuff, is she seems very she seems to be very explicitly trying to catch capture that sort of progressively minded, you know, look at me girl bossing this and getting rid of the abuser and saying, we don’t want And it’s just a total cell phone. She just walked into she walked into a trap of her own making, which I find which I find interesting, but like the the other element of this that is intriguing to me is again, like, even if it’s not a conscious strategy, it seems to be worth working in terms of getting people more interested in the movie or at least more aware of it, right, Peter? Well,
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:44

    to some extent, I mean, The piece you mentioned earlier, the puck news piece suggests that awareness of the movie, which wasn’t high to begin with, started around seventeen percent. And since all of the headlines have been made over the past week or so has risen to I think twenty one percent. So that’s a big increase in sort of percentage terms, but it’s from a pretty low baseline. Right? It’s not it’s still not a movie that has a huge amount of awareness about it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:13

    And so maybe maybe this will end up drawing some people to theaters, and maybe it will end up working in favor of the film. But, man, if so, that’s a pretty sad commentary on the nature of the film business advertising. Like, whatever I just I so I didn’t know anything about any of this until you guys emailed it to me in our, you know, weekly discussion over the weekend. You’re You’re so
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:40

    you’re so far above it all. You’re
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:41

    looking down at it. So much better off until, like, having not read any coverage of this. Because Ultimately, like, I care about the movie. I’m interested in this film. I wanna go see if it’s any good.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:53

    The only detail out of any of this that seemed like of some relevance to my interest was she’s it was the the the allegation which was made the anonymous sources right, basically, but that Olivia Wild was not sufficiently present on set. And again, this is like a this has been like laundered through a bunch of sourcing doesn’t seem like it you know, so we don’t know exactly how true that is, whether it was one incident or three, or whether it was every day she was gone for six hours. Right? Like, when she should have been there for setups, that sort of thing. But, like, I’m interested in stories of production and how production works.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:33

    Well, like, what? Who who these people are sleeping with or not and, like, whether they get divorced or they’re celebrities. They do stuff. They have lives. Who cares?
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:42

    It’s just it’s it’s totally irrelevant to the thing that is interesting or not, which is the movie itself.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:48

    What? It it certainly, if if some of the early discussion of Harry Styles’ performance in this movie is to be believed that it has some some impact there as supposedly not the greatest. We’ll see. Again, we’ll we’ll see it’s hard to judge all of that. This
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:04

    is the other this is the other problem with all of this. No one has seen this movie yet. There are no it right. There’s this is not shown for festival audiences. This is not shown for critics.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:12

    Maybe you yeah. Right. Maybe is a better Yep. So, you know, to the extent I mean, to the extent that this is going to be productive for a film like this and as an advertising play as as a kind of marketing, it’s that this stuff front runs the actual film. And and again, I just feel like that’s that is an unfortunate set of circumstances for for, like, for good cinema.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:36

    Because Like in some ways, the it’s I’m worried that it will work. That, like, this set of headlines will end up driving people to the movie regardless of the quality of the film, regardless of the reviews, regardless of what’s in it, whether Olivia Wild did a bang up job as it director during a trying circumstance or whether this is sort of a misfire that has, you know, some I it’s that it has, like, some progressive ideology to it that people were hoping that they could sell the movie based on that. Like, I have no idea. The only thing I know about the actual quality of this film at all is Olivia Wilde directed one movie. They got good reviews, and this and the script for this movie was on the blacklist, which is not necessarily a always a sign that a movie is going to be good.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:23

    However, it is a sign that a bunch of interested parties who often have good taste thought that the script was good. Yeah.
  • Speaker 3
    0:11:32

    I mean, the one thing I would say is that As a person who both enjoys juicy celebrity gossip and fine cinema, I think this is actually the rare place where there is you know, on people find stories about on set chemistry interesting.
  • Speaker 4
    0:11:47

    Right? And this is being marketed in
  • Speaker 3
    0:11:48

    part as movie that’s like you get to see Harry Styles have some pretty explicit sex with people.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:53

    I barely know what a Harry Styles is. Like, I I only like, my I will wear a hairstyle
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:59

    for Nolan’s Dunkirk.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:00

    Right. So I’m aware that he he Harry Styles was in Dunkirk good like he sings and he’s got
  • Speaker 4
    0:12:05

    good hair? Yeah. And like he is he is a like, an artist who went independent from a popular play band, he’s like a huge sort of, like, teen sex icon in part and part of what’s interesting about him is that he, you know, plays with ambiguous gender presentation in ways that signals.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:26

    So he’s he’s gen z, Justin Timberlake?
  • Speaker 4
    0:12:29

    Much much more so on the, like, ambiguous gender presentation. Like, wear, you know, wear dresses on the red carpet and stuff. And so, you know, buzz about him and Olivia Wild, essentially, like, sneaking off to, like, bang it at every spare moment on the set, like, is synchronistic with the movies marketing in some extent. Right? Like, if the if
  • Speaker 3
    0:12:50

    the selling point to this movie is, like, Harry style is just a fantastic play. Like, stories about that, like, being real are, you know, are working together with the advertising for the movie. At the same time, like, if, you know, he and Florence Pew hated each other, she thought he was totally an unprofessional in part because he was you know, banging their director. That’s gonna be something that people sort of look at the movie to be like, oh, does that show up on screen? And so, you know, I to a certain extent, like, maybe it’s bad that this is coming out before the movie.
  • Speaker 3
    0:13:21

    Maybe it’s a huge cell phone by wild. I think the idea that it has nothing to do with the movie itself is maybe a somewhat narrow reading of, you know, the way this movie Like, this is a movie where, like, Ideally, Olivia Wild
  • Speaker 4
    0:13:38

    wants, like, teenage girls to be, like, sneaking into it. Right? That’s that’s sort of the schtick. And so
  • Speaker 3
    0:13:47

    I don’t think I think the parts of it of this story that are about wild sort of selling herself as like a feminist cinematic hero are indicative of a moment, but not necessarily that interesting, but in a weird way, like, the allegations of just, like, mess and drama are maybe more relevant to the actual marketing play for the movie.
  • Speaker 4
    0:14:08

    And I think that’s interesting.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:10

    I I maybe not fully retract my statement that none of this is relevant to the film, but I will only be interested in it after the fact. And so to me, like, I it’s not that I wanna go into see into movies necessarily not knowing anything. I watch trailers, I read, you know, festival coverage, that sort of thing. And sometimes if there’s, like, onset production issues that are of particular interest, like, it’s not like I don’t read the coverage of that sort of thing. At the same time, this just seems this seems like a lot of very personal drama that happens to have some sort of echo to what the the theme of the film may be.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:49

    Right? And we don’t be and not having any idea at all. Just makes it sort of seem like I’m divorce is bad. Seems like it sucks. I don’t it seems unpleasant.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:01

    I I don’t know. Like, people have relationships and they’re complicated. I don’t like, I’m just like, what is what are we supposed to do with this if you care about movies? Right now, without having seen a film, without even being able to refer to somebody else’s review of the
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:17

    film. But this is this is this is like classic old school Hollywood drama, man. This is like this is like I I I find it I find it interesting that you are you are couching this solely in terms of the artistry of the film, which fine, like, that that is the thing I most care about as well. But like the idea that the gossip hasn’t been a thing that puts butts in seats since literally the beginning of the film industry is very very it’s a music. I
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:45

    I think I find it a music. Like, what People do is they look up the reviews on rotten tomatoes. They click top critics.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:52

    Back in nineteen twenty seven, they were like, give me that rotten tomatoes score mable. I need to see? Is it is it fresh or is it a splash?
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:00

    And in the old days, what they do is they buy the New York Sun and the New York Times and they compare their two favorite critics And they’d like right? And they’d sort of average the out the roof. That’s I assume that’s how people make sure this is about the
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:13

    Cisco and hybrid in the nineteen thirties. That’s what that’s what it all was. Now
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:16

    they
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:16

    just listen to us. Right? Side note on all of this, the person who comes out looking best in this whole situation is Florence Pew, and this
  • Speaker 3
    0:16:22

    is just beautifully. The
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:23

    the the person who comes out looking second best in all this is Chris Pine. It was nowhere to be seen. He’s like, Chris Pine. Chris Pine is just looking down on all this drama from Mount Olympus saying no.
  • Speaker 3
    0:16:33

    He’s off being handsome, wearing tropical shirts, like, maybe playing some Bongo drums, like I
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:38

    did really appreciate learning that Florence Pew was like, I’m sorry I have to shoot dune too. Great. Like, good and Oppenheimer. It’s like, okay, you’re going to be like, you’re gonna be able to buy two favorite movies next year. Like do and and instead of joining in this mess, I like you more now because you’re, like, focused on the work.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:57

    Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:58

    It’s very interesting that she has gotten along very well with, like, notoriously, you know, kind of, like, fill sometimes on Twitter skeptical guys like Denny Villeneuve and Christopher Nolan and Olivia Wild just to say I want nothing to do with just washing my hands of all this. Alright. So what do we think? Is it a controversy or an controversy that stereo typically gendered gossip around the Lady Director’s sexual adventures is leading to a massive increase? In interest in the movie that we’re talking about.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:25

    Alyssa.
  • Speaker 3
    0:17:26

    It’s not traditional. Peter, I
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:29

    think
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:32

    that’s how I feel about all of this. I don’t care. It’s non it’s non traversal that this controversy is sparking interest. I’ll put it that way. Put it that way.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:43

    Alright. Make sure to tune in for our bonus episode this Friday, in which we discuss the ever widening gap between critics and audiences when it comes to blockbuster entertainment. And now on to the main event, Samaritan, you you don’t know what Samaritan is? Weird. It’s right there on Prime Video.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:59

    You’ve probably have access to it right now and yet you don’t even know about it how very odd. Yes. Samaritan is one of those titles that was picked up by Amazon during the purchase of MGM. And rather than shell out low to mid eight figures to get it ready for theaters with a proper ad campaign and beef up special effects, etcetera. Amazon just decided to throw this sliced alone action flick up on streaming service and Spangular talk is gonna commence here So if you’re worried about spoilers for Samaritan, the movie that you’ve been looking forward to for months and years now as the release date kept getting pushed back.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:31

    Turn off your app. Turn out to unplug your headphones. We’re gonna talk some spoilers here. Alright. So, Samaritan is a comic book movie without the comic book to base on.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:41

    That’s not true. Oh, is this based on a comic book? Well,
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:44

    sort of. And we should actually talk about that. There is a comic book that that that provided some source material for this. But
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:50

    it was a backscript,
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:51

    I thought. This is actually the interesting thing is this was a spec script first in around twenty ten or so. Then got turned into a book in twenty thirteen or twenty fourteen. Okay. And then only afterwards did it get re turned into a movie during the sort of the the peak of the comic book.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:06

    Boom. The script got sort of put into production in twenty nineteen or not put into production, but greenlit to actually move forward in twenty nineteen or so at the point at which every studio was like I guess people will go see anything that has superheroes in it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:21

    Yeah. Alright. So we’ll we’ll discuss that more in a second. In the opening montage, we learned of Samaritan and his brother, Nevis says siblings who superpowers made them both beloved and feared. After the boy’s parents were killed by an angry mob, Samaritan decided to help those who needed it, while nemesis turned to evil to punish the society that killed his folks.
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:39

    The two brothers battled one another until they died in a fire explosion, at a power plant? Or did they? Teenager Sam Klary was played by Javaugh Walton believes that the guy who lives across the street from him, Joe Smith, played by Slice Malone is in fact Samaritan. And as anyone who has seen the trailer knows, Smith does in fact have superpowers. Can he rescue the city from the malaise and despair that his quietly sucking out its soul.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:00

    Can Joe stop local gang leader Cyrus who’s played by Pelew SBeck. I can never get that guy’s name right, but he’s good actor. I like him. From plunging the city into darkness and leading riots as he dawns the mantle of nemesis. More importantly, can anyone explain to me the big twist near the end of this movie.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:16

    Okay. Shanker, Joe, isn’t Samaritan. He was an nemesis. And after killing his brother, he decided to stop being nemesis for reasons? For for reasons, sacrifice something.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:27

    I he wants to honor his brother who he hated so much. He had him killed. I don’t know. It’s unclear.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:31

    He got old and his back was covered in weird scars. But
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:35

    that’s that doesn’t have anything to do with it. The whole thing is very messily plotted to the extent that it undermines the very basic theme, right, which is that people need hope in the form of exemplars to better themselves and their surroundings blah blah blah. But, like, the whole the plot is so ridiculously underbaked that we don’t really get to it. Weirdly, the movie that Samaritan most called to mind for me was the Dark Knight rises. But way way dumber than the dark knight rises.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:00

    If Denof thieves if Denof thieves remember the movie Denof thieves, that movie is basically idiot heat. Then Samaritan is basically idiot Dark Knight rises. And for starters, let’s look at the character of Cyrus who was basically Moreon Bane. To the extent that he’s, like, wandering around the streets of a city and a shearling jacket and a mask, and he’s telling people that they need to riot and take back their city to punish the overclass and has impressed them. And he’s even, like,
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:25

    for the people. For the people. He, like, gives the same monologue.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:30

    Exactly. He gives that’s the
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:31

    same
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:32

    monologue. And then later in the movie, he he he let’s he gives somebody a chance to run away, and then he shoots them in the back and he says that you always want them to have hope before you break them. I’m just like, this is literally You’re just more on Bain. This is more on Bain. Alright.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:45

    So anyway, you know, sometimes I worry as a reactionary that I’m so desperate for, like, the modest hits of hints of conservatism that I could find in art that I’ll lap up just about anything. But Smaritan puts those fears to rest. Because this is an almost aggressively reactionary movie. Right? The villain is talking about the importance of punching up you Nemesis always punched up against, you know, people who were bad.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:07

    And, hey, the cops are terrible and riots are good actually. And then we can restore justice to the city by, you know, taking down down the the bat folks. And, you know, in theory, like, okay, I like people like this to be shown as evil. That could be good. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:21

    But, no, this movie’s not good. It’s not good at all. One last final note here, just the the federal government needs to immediately pass a law banning films from using fire in their climactic set pieces or burning buildings or anything like that. If they’re not actually gonna set any fires, CGI fire should be considered a crime against humanity. Punishable by incarceration in the Hague.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:44

    Peter, you seemed to like this movie more than I did. What have I gotten wrong here? Well, it’s not a good movie. But it
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:51

    is a kind of representative one in a lot of ways. And a lot of that starts with the backstory, which we were talking about earlier. This movie started as a spec script and couldn’t be sold as a spec script. So what happened was that the story idea was then turned into a comic book by a little known comic book publisher. Mythos comics, I believe it is, in twenty thirteen, twenty fourteen around then.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:16

    And then nothing happened, but in twenty nineteen, it was it it was a script again and people were like, we need to make absolutely anything that has Like, we will make and fund anything with a with a superhero concept. Especially if it sort of purports to be a kind of deconstruction of the superhero concept because, you know, people, like, get the rules of the superhero movie at this point, and they signed up still necessary to load, and they’d, like, set this for production at starting at the end of February twenty twenty. What happened in February of twenty twenty? Well, not February, but one like, one two weeks after this movie kinda sorted started it’s kinda sorted production, it shut down. For reasons that we all remember, it was a bad time.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:59

    They weren’t making movies for a while. So it did start back up again before before vaccines came out, you know, with COVID protocols, they actually managed to get people back to work. It it went back into production in October of twenty twenty, and we’re only just now seeing this thing. Right? And so this is And one of the reasons we’re seeing it only on streaming via Amazon, and it was also wrapped up in the crazy MGM deal that that Amazon did.
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:25

    You know, over the last couple of years. And so this movie is just really interestingly representative of like the last ten or twelve years a kind of mid to big budget studio trends and all of the weirdness that has affected, you know, distributions issues and and streaming and all of that. Right? And it’s it’s like if you wanted to kinda understand a bunch of the stuff that has happened in Hollywood, not if you wanted to watch a good movie. But if you wanted to understand a bunch of things that Hollywood has gone through with a weird business and creative revolutions that we have seen over the past decade or so, you could pick a lot worse movie to look at than Samaritan because it seems to to kind of it’s like forest gump in its way.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:09

    Right? It’s just sort of always in the middle of, like, whatever the heck is going on, whatever weirdness is happening. From the the the sort of the the post end game superhero boom through the pandemic. Right? And then into the weird business deals and the you know, streaming only release.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:26

    As a
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:26

    movie, I guess I didn’t think like I said, I didn’t think it was good, but I also thought it could have been a lot worse. It’s relatively cleanly shot. It like Sylvester Stallone, there’s some bits of this that are kind of appealing just because Sylvester Solone is kind of kind of pleasant to watch on screen even if he is old and slow and lumbering. And the movie actually does try to do something, I think, a little bit different with the superhero formula even if it mostly ends up replicating a a bunch of stuff from dark knight rises. In a kind of lesser and secondary way.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:02

    And so I I thought I was really going to hate this and it was gonna be a complete piece of trash. And instead, I thought, well, that wasn’t a good movie. But it like, I could almost see something that was worthwhile in it. And I also think I I also sort of, like, as I was like re editing it and sort of like offering you thinking about like, well, what would I have done with this? I was thinking that there is there’s like a version of this movie that’s r rated that’s, you know, more violent that has less CGI fire and that actually feels a little more like a an eighties throwback.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:38

    That has more kind of, you know, catch phrases and sylvester Stallone, doling out justice in in a bloody way and all that. Don’t know. I didn’t I just didn’t hate it, and I thought the story of it was sort of interesting. And, like, this is what we end up with in this weird sort of kinda dark period for for theaters. When a lot of stuff isn’t coming out when, you know, as we’ve talked about when it’s all sorta when we’re we’re staring at this, like, weird release schedule in in August and in August and September when, you know, and and I was, again, not not in love with this movie, and I wouldn’t even say it was good, but I I felt like, oh, this was It outperformed expectations in a bunch of ways, and there was an interesting backstory.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:25

    Alyssa, did it outperform your expectations?
  • Speaker 3
    0:27:28

    I would say it about met my expectations, but my expectations were fairly low. And in a weird way, this movie got me thinking about what it must be like to be an actor who is never gonna be particularly successful in the US, but is gonna keep working steadily in part because they fit sort of a need that the entertainment industry has. And like, Pillow Azbak kind of fits that description for me. Like, he’s very good at playing, like, thinly written maniacal bad guys. Right?
  • Speaker 3
    0:28:00

    Like, that was that’s his deal in this movie. That was his Dion Game of Thrones where he played Yaron Greyjoy. He does good, crazy eye and, like, sort of, charismatic monologue. And I don’t think he’s ever gonna do that much more than that in Hollywood movies. I could be wrong.
  • Speaker 3
    0:28:15

    Maybe he has like an incredibly sensitive, you know, Shakespearean, or hiding in him somewhere. Maybe he is, like, all he’s ever wanted to be in his life is, like, the next coming of black and white slap at comedy. But I kinda think that’s basically what he’s gonna do forever. In the same way, dasha Panko, who kind of broke out as an inmate who gets pregnant by a prison guard on Orange’s New Black. We saw her last summer in in the Heights, is always, like, when they people need, like, a, you know, pretty but not knockout, like, sort of mother, you know, like, young maternal Latina figure.
  • Speaker 3
    0:28:55

    Like, she’s gonna get cast and stuff. Is she gonna get to do other things? Like, I mean, she’s the one of the salon ladies in in the hittu gets, like, nothing to do. You know, Stephanie Beatrice has more lines than she does, etcetera. And so, you know, she will you know, she will probably continue to work, but it’s always gonna be like the fifth or sixth build person even in a small project like that.
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:20

    And it’s interesting, you know, we’re just talking about, you know, sort of celebrity gossip and, you know, sort of, Buzz, early New Orleans, like, we don’t talk very much about people who just kind of fill those roles and fill them, like, confidently and well. But the entertainment industry has a huge need for those and there are more people who wanna be actors than there are acting roles period. But being able to sort of fill an archetype, I think, is kind of an underrated skill in part because some many of the people who could fill archetypes are going to be upset about not being able to be stars and sort of drop out of the business. And so this movie was just like a little bit of sympathy for people who are kinda in that position. And then, also, I would say, I just, like, like, old, slightly broken down, so best or so alone.
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:09

    Like, he’s good at that in creed. He’s good at that in this. Like, he, you know, he has like a nice ruffle streak at this stage in his career. And, you know, we’ve talked a little bit on this podcast about the number of Hollywood actors who are getting just like huge and jacked. Right?
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:25

    And, you know, maybe some of those guys will decide to become less jacked for time because it’s exhausting. But in a weird way, does Sylvester Stallone serve like a flash forward into their physical future? Right? And, you know, he his performances look, he doesn’t do a lot of, you know, you know, so that’s just to learn again. It’s like he’s not gonna go off and, like, start a goal Joel Cohen movie.
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:48

    Right? Like, that that is not his future.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:50

    I’d watch that though. I
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:52

    mean, as would we all. But yeah. Joel Cohen, call my agent. But he is this reminder that, like, you can bring something like soulful, a little, rueful, even to a very dumb, like, not very good looking movie. And, you know, that’s a standard that more people should aspire to.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:12

    Yeah. I I do love Sylvester Stallone in most things, and he he’s fine in this. I like, I’m one of the few people who defended last blood, which I thought was a more interesting movie than than critics and audiences frankly tended to give it credit. But he is very good in that, and he has just he’s been he’s been playing this kind of like broken down figure who is trying to be a symbol for something else for, like, fifteen years now. Like, when did when did the Rambo goes to Thailand movie or where where Rambo goes to Indonesia?
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:51

    I can’t even remember where that that movie was set. Movie come out. But that was, like, two thousand seven, two thousand eight, something like that. So he’s been doing this for a while now. Underrated movie.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:01

    That’s a good deal. I think it’s properly rated. I think most people really like one. It was the it’s the one on the border that they didn’t like. You know, nobody wants to watch them fight drug cartels apparently.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:09

    It is it is interesting to look back at his eighties body though and think about what he looks like now and how the, you know, that’s has clearly affected his physical presence. I was watching Rambo part two for I don’t know why. Right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:25

    But first blood part two. First
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:26

    blood part two, and there’s a torture scene in which he’s shirtless. And, like, they’re just these incredible close ups of his back muscles that are, like, that’s that’s in like, that’s a special effect — Yeah. — except you did it with your body, man. And it’s it’s just I I don’t know. It’s it’s really It’s awesome.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:49

    It’s kinda awesome.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:51

    Well, the difference between first blood first blood part two is very noticeable. I mean, it’s it’s like it’s he like he went from being like big big dude, you know, well built being like I am built like a house. You could you could put things on my shoulders and I could carry them for miles sorta
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:08

    I mean, that’s the future for all of these, you know, superhero actors who have bulked up. Maybe not it maybe not exactly the future, but this is like, they’re gonna end up on the, you know, he he has talked about I’m not like I’m I’m not saying anything he hasn’t said on on public record, but he has been actually a pretty vocal proponents of older men with, you know, who lifted weights using human growth hormones, which is sort of like steroids, but not exactly. Right? But sort of a muscle bulking thing that you take for your body. And Like, he like he he takes stuff to keep his body big.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:47

    And right? And it’s at like, it it changes his performance and it changes he walks and moves. Right? Not just the sort of the size of him and and the presence, but it adds it adds something that’s really kind of interesting to see on screen that we’re only sort of just now in the past decade or so getting to see, like, what those guys who who looked like superheroes when they were thirty five or forty, what they end up looking like when they’re seventy.
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:12

    Well, and stolen is interesting in this regard because, you know, I’m one of the things like Arnold Choice and Ira doesn’t anymore. So you see him as like a big dude, but you don’t see him doing, you know, ostensibly ambitious things with his body and necessarily using his body as a performance aid in quite the same way. And so, Stallone is really sort of the vanguard in that regard, and it’s interesting to watch.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:32

    Yep. You guys excited for Samaritan two. I assume we’re all gonna be the on prime
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:37

    video. You mean nemesis. It’s gonna have to be called nemesis because Samaritan doesn’t
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:43

    exist. Samaritan to the return of nemesis.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:46

    Yeah. Cyrus’ brother decides to take revenge against nemesis, and he is called Samaritan. Alright. So what do we think? Thumbs up for FEMSA on this movie, Alyssa.
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:57

    I mean, in what universe are you contemplating watching this movie? Are you contemplating watching this movie? Will you, like, drink a beer and check your email? Then, like, thumbs up fine. If you’re looking for, like, a groundbreaking, you know, reinterpretation of the superhero drama than thumbs down.
  • Speaker 1
    0:35:12

    Peter. Twelve year old me gives this a thumbs up, though, it could have been better. But unfortunately, today, years old me has to give it a thumbs down with the caveat that was much better than I thought it would be. You know,
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:28

    Elisa Race is a good point. I I I thought about talking about this earlier and didn’t, but I I will mention it now. So I watched this movie half on my phone at the gym. And then half at home on my TV because I wanted to treat it like a piece of content, like, not not like a not like an actual movie that you you actually, you know, think about, but just like, oh, I need something to do and that’s what these things are here for. And I do think that that slightly I I think I’d probably downgraded my overall viewing enjoyment, but also, like, that’s how you were supposed to watch these things.
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:59

    And I I, like, I find it I find it vaguely frustrating and sad that that is the the extent to which we are expected to treat them. Again, I was watching it like I like I Assume most people will, which is as a in portrait mode. Adventure in content. And even then, it’s still a thumbs down because like I said, it’s It’s idiot dark night dark night rises. So
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:23

    With the subtitles on.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:24

    I did not have the subtitles on. I should have I should have really gotten the whole effect. Alright. That’s it for this week’s show. Make sure to swing by at m a dot board dot com for our bonus episode on Friday.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:33

    Make sure to tell your friends, strong recommendation from a friend is basically the only way to grow podcasts audiences. If we don’t, girl, we’ll die. If you did not love today’s episode, please complain to me on Twitter at. Sonya Sanchez mentioned that it is, in fact, the best show in your podcast feeds. See you guys next
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:46

    week.
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