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Adam Sandler Goes Into Space, Man

March 19, 2024
Notes
Transcript
Tickets to our screening of Arrival and live-taping of an episode of the show are going fast! It’s Tuesday, April 9, at 7PM in Washington, D.C., at the Alamo Drafthouse’s Bryant Street location on their Big Show screen. Tickets are just seven bucks! Pick them up now before they’re gone for good.

This week, Sonny Bunch (The Bulwark), Alyssa Rosenberg (The Washington Post), and Peter Suderman (Reason) discuss the viewing habits of Kids These Days™ and whether or not the rise of streaming and the decline of cable/video stores have changed what gets watched and why. Then they review Spaceman, Adam Sandler’s space travel/spider therapy movie. (Trust us, it makes sense in context.) Make sure to swing by Bulwark+ for our bonus episode on sad sci-fi movies, a weirdly prolific genre. And if you enjoyed this episode, make sure to 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 back to this Tuesday’s across the movie. I’ll present it by Bulwark Plus. I am your host Sunny Bunch, Culture editor of the BullWork, and I’m joined as always by the award winning, Alyssa Rosenberg of the Washington Post, the new letters editor at the Washington Post. Very exciting. And Peter Souderman of Reason Magazine, Melissa.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:26

    Peter, how are you today?
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:27

    I am hanging in there.
  • Speaker 3
    0:00:29

    I am so happy to be talking about movies with friends. Get
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:33

    before we get to Nans and Nans. I just wanna remind folks that we’ll be in DC for a live taping on Tuesday, April ninth at seven PM at the Brian street location of the Alamo Draft House, where we’re going to be screening and discussing Denis Villeneuve’s arrival. Love that movie. Arrival. Tickets are about two thirds gone.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:51

    They’re they’re going they’re going fast folks. So pick them up. They’re only, I think, seven bucks. So it’s not it’s not a huge burden on you. You’ll get to watch Good Movie.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:59

    Here’s some good discussion. It’ll be fun. What remains of the tickets are mostly in the front sections? And I know some people are like oh, that’s too close to the screen. I don’t wanna sit there.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:09

    But again, I wanna remind you that that means you’ll be close to us during our live taping. But I’ve also become a convert to those seats in recent years. You really get the immersive cinematic experience that way. Right? Like, just a couple weeks ago, I saw love lies bleeding.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:25

    In the second row at a Draft House near me. And it was like, watching the movie in lesbian IMAX. It was amazing. My field of vision was totally dominated. I loved it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:34

    I loved being dominated by the anyway, Peter, I know you have thoughts on this seating arrangement. Go.
  • Speaker 3
    0:01:41

    Yeah. So I I just wanna put in a word for those front seats. If you think that you are gonna be too close or that you’re not gonna like them, This is a movie where being close and being immersed is is a mix for a a better and bigger experience. And so I think arrival is a movie that benefits from this. But there’s something else that you might not know, which is that the Alamo makes those front row seats even better in a special way.
  • Speaker 3
    0:02:05

    So what the Alamo does is they have reclining seats. And the closer you sit to the theater, the more it reclines. So those close-up seats recline more than the ones in the back and that makes the viewing angle just right in a way that the Alamo just thought of everything. And so I just wanna I I I wanna encourage you. Don’t feel like, those seats are too close.
  • Speaker 3
    0:02:24

    It’s gonna be too much. You’re gonna get to sit closer to us. You’re gonna get to sit closer to the movie, and the Alamo has thought of your neck craning problem in advance and solved it for you.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:35

    Like Peter said, sit sit close. Feel feel comfortable sitting close. You’ll be fine. It’ll be great. You’ll you can you can tilt back a little more.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:41

    We love it. Love to see you there. Make sure you, get a drink with us before or after. We’ll be around. Alright.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:48

    First up, in controversies and controversies, Our kids today, those kids, are they wholly uninterested in the history of cinema? Or is this simply the natural state of affairs? There was a fun debate on Twitter last week, last weekend, this weekend kicked off. By a professor, he said he, made a reference to the matrix and a lecture. None of the kids got it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:09

    Someone replied to this by saying they totally believe it. Kids in the nineties loved movies that were made thirty or forty years ago, but kids these days Darn whipper snappers, they don’t watch anything old. And then someone replied to that by saying that’s insane. Kids in the nineties weren’t watching movies in the nineteen fifties in the nineteen sixties, now we were off. Everybody’s arguing about all sorts of different things.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:30

    Now the matrix specifically is kind of an interesting touchstone here. Right? It came out twenty five years ago, which means that The equivalent when the Matrix came out would be something from nineteen seventy four, and that means films like blazing saddles, young Frankenstein, the godfather part two. The longest yard, the Texas chainsaw massacre Chinatown, Death Wish, lots of good movies there, lots of really interesting stuff that kids watched and loved. I know I watched a number of those in my teenage years, not all of them, but a number of them.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:56

    And I guess it just depends on what kind of kids you are. Right? I do not think am necessarily typical, but I also don’t think these are crazy titles for teenagers to have watched. The further back you go, the dice you’re it gets course. I mean, like, the nineteen fifties and nineteen sixties undoubtedly, lots of great filmmakers there.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:12

    And I’m sure there are kids who are really into Hitchcock and John Wayne. I could be persuaded that the average non cenophile teen wasn’t out there seeking, like, Doctor Strange Levin stuff. I did, again, not necessarily typical. The matrix, in particular, again, is particularly fascinating as a reference point because I can see it both ways. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:29

    On the one hand, it’s a movie where the influence is so overwhelming on American, action cinema that you basically can’t understand modern action filmmaking without understanding the impact of that film. You can draw straight line from it to the world of John Wick and not just because the both start Keanu Reeves, and not just because John Wick director Chad Stolesky was Countor Reeves’s stunt bubble on the film. It just has suffused the look and the feel of action cinema. On the other though, The matrix came out in a very weird in between moment for internet culture. Lots of people were online, but society wasn’t really online.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:04

    Right? There was a split between real life personas and online personas, the simple technology of hard lines and dial up were different from what would come. When everybody had has now access to the internet in their pocket all the time. For folks who lived in the before and the after, folks like me say, again, it’s a seminal tech to the for someone born in the age of tablet and the Netflix and the Facebook and the TikTok, right? It has to be kind of incoherent.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:31

    Like, what is why are they plugging into things. What is what is happening? I don’t understand. But I do think I think both of these points are kind of related. Okay?
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:40

    Hear me out. I think kids in the nineties were more likely to watch older movies if only because the world of television that existed for them was more amenable to forcing them to watch older movies today. Kids choose to watch whatever they want, and those choices are kind of prescribed by what’s available on Netflix and Disney and HBO Max. This is how my kids watch. Stuff.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:59

    Right? They turn on Disney plus and they watch Fineas and Furb. They turn on Netflix, they watch miraculous, whatever. Back in the day, you turned on a TV and you whatever was on. And you turned the TV off if you didn’t wanna watch what whatever was on.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:11

    And what was on basic cable from AMC to TCM to TNT, etcetera, etcetera, was a much broader range of movies from a much broader timeline. Just now, just like a few minutes ago, I pulled up a site listing movies by decade on Netflix. There were zero movies from the nineteen forties on Netflix right now. There is exactly one from the nineteen fifties, white Christmas. There are two from the entire decade of the nineteen sixties, the guns of Navaron and Prince.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:38

    Now there are forty six from the nineteen seventies, fifty seven from the nineteen eighties, but You add all those up. That’s a hundred fifty six movies total made before nineteen ninety on the streaming service, Netflix, which is the biggest streaming service in the entire world. What are the odds that random sixteen year olds are like, you know what? I really wanna watch the deer hunter tonight. I’m gonna I’m gonna about to turn that on Netflix.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:57

    I don’t think it’s that likely. So let’s take this in two parts. Okay? Alyssa, are you distressed that the children aren’t watching key zeniel texts the matrix like they should be?
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:07

    To sound like a crazed social conservative for a minute, there’s a very important figure missing from this conversation, and that’s parents.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:15

    Parents.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:16

    I I mean that not in the sense that parents are censoring what kids watch it watch, in fact, I think it’s become vastly harder for them to do that. Thanks to the internet. But growing up, the people who introduced me to movies, especially when I was young and who sort of curated them for me, were my parents, right? And so I’ve talked a lot on this podcast about how I really sort of grew up on Bulwark Keaton movies as opposed to broadcast television or cable. And that was entirely because my parents went out and got VHS box sets box buster Keaton movies and sat down and watched them with us.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:49

    Like, my, you know, they were the ones who explained to me, you know, how amazing it was that he was doing his own stunts in an era when that was much more dangerous to do and how he sort of invented in some ways, the possibility of the action movie, you know, I definitely watched a certain amount of stuff that was just informed by my parents college tastes and so even before I watched the James Bond movies, I watched our man Flint and in like Flynn. Which were these sort of, you know, riffs on the bond movies, like kind of, and sort of the Goldfinger era bond movies turned up to eleven. It wasn’t that it was, you know, broadcast television or basic cable or the internet that was curating my taste in older movies. It was my parents. So it’s it’s kind of bizarre to me to think that people are age, you know, for whom the the matrix was a huge touch tone, Our kids are, I think, a little too young for that movie, substantially too young in my case.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:50

    Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:51

    But how are our parents just not showing their kids anything that was cool when they were young. I mean, the the New Yorkers, former television critic now features writer Emily Nussbaum actually spends a lot time crowdsourcing older movies to watch with her kids and sort of reports back on how they like them. And it, you know, obviously Emily is not typical in many ways, among them her brilliance, but, you know, that is clearly a family ritual where they sit down and watch like a good unusual movie that in some cases, none of them had seen before every week. And the idea that kids not only aren’t watching older stuff, but aren’t having this sort of intergenerational bonding experience with their parents is super depressing to me. That that be one of the great things about being an adult is getting to share the stuff that you really love with your kids.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:39

    Yeah. There’s there’s definitely some of that. And I I think that I think that that is true to a certain extent. Though I was talking with a friend of the show about showing his kid the matrix, and he said that his son checked out at minute, like, thirty five or thing, you know, because it was just it was just just boring. It didn’t didn’t get to the get to the cut to the chase quick enough room.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:59

    I’m sorry. But if the kids today don’t get a chance to look at each other and say, look at his neurokinetics. They’re way above normal, and then burst into laughter. They’re just missing out. That’s really sad to me.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:09

    So, Peter, the the the second question here is about how things are watched. And I do think that this is I think this is kind of the the aspect of all this that lots of people were skating past, because look, it’s easy to say like, oh, kids should be better versed in the classic you know, I this is the constant lament of one generation to the next. Why haven’t you read the Odyssey and the Elliot? Why haven’t you watched. I love Lucy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:35

    Why haven’t you seen the matrix, etcetera? Like, I I understand. I understand that, but I do think that the the change in how people watch things has really impacted the the the the various ways people form their own personal cannons.
  • Speaker 3
    0:10:51

    I think that’s fair. One of the complaints I saw in some of the discussion around this was, a younger person, I believe saying something to the effect of, well, how are we supposed to watch it? It’s how are we supposed to watch the matrix, which is kind of bizarre to me because it one of the most easily accessible movies that you can imagine right now. I mean, maybe, along with some of the, you know, the Marvel films or something, or the Matrix is not a hard movie to find a copy of, even if you don’t own a disc player of any kind. Alright?
  • Speaker 3
    0:11:22

    There’s just it’s it’s there to be watched on streaming though. I guess at some point you might have to pay three or four or five dollars for a VOD rental fee. I do think that there is a sort of learned helplessness around the selections that is that are made by the streamers and people have this sense that that is what’s available and that that is all that is available and that is incorrect. On the other hand, a lot of people had that same sense about what was on television, what was on cable, in the nineteen nineties. I certainly knew people who wouldn’t you know, venture out to go to the video store or the movies.
  • Speaker 3
    0:11:58

    They just turned on the TV and watched whatever was on. And you asked, well, don’t you wanna see this? I mean, like, well, it has been on TV. And I so in some ways, I don’t think this is new. I I think, you know, my sense here is is that People who are college age or younger are just watching movies less in some ways or watching or sitting and watching movies from start to finish much less than we did because they have so many other video content type types of media that they can consume.
  • Speaker 3
    0:12:29

    There’s TikTok and there’s YouTube and there’s video games and there’s a hu also just a huge amount of stuff on streaming. Right? But at, you know, so even people who I know who are at not, you know, in college or younger. I Will Saletan to, and they just say, well, I watch movies less than I used to, or maybe I watch movies I I hear this one too. I watch movies, but I turn them on and then I’m scrolling on my phone and they’ll just say this, right?
  • Speaker 3
    0:12:52

    And I kind of I can’t watch I can’t just sit and watch a movie. I’ve heard that from people who I who are even into their mid thirties, in the last couple of years. And some of them who who just enjoy that like, kind of hyper stimulation, you know, not quite focusing on anything, and they feel like that’s well. Oh, it’s more efficient. You know?
  • Speaker 3
    0:13:11

    I kinda get idea of the movie, and I’m also able to follow along on whatever’s happening on Twitter and, maybe watch, you know, a stream of a video game at the same time and that’s their preferred way to consume stuff. And so the thing that the three of us do and to, you know, have done for decades, which is to sit and focus on one extended piece of media to read for an hour or two or watch a movie for two or three hours. That is just in decline. And and there is a whole generation of people whose preferred method is to watch stuff that’s short to kind of multitask in their viewing and consumption whether flipping back and forth between things or whether it is literally just kind of watching multiple screens all at once. And so that is going to That is inherently gonna mean that people are watching are are spending less time with older movies in particular because those older movies were made with an assumption that you would sit in a movie theater or maybe at home, you know, on on VHS and you you just watch it and that’s what you would do.
  • Speaker 3
    0:14:13

    And that’s the main that’s the main and only thing that you would do. And maybe at some point, you know. It’s kinda the something like the matrix, you know, is gets played on TNT and it’s on in the background while you’re making dinner or whatever. Sure. That did happen.
  • Speaker 3
    0:14:28

    But the movie wasn’t made with the assumption of that as a use case. And I I think that does that does change things. But it is it’s a little weird to meet it when I hear people who say things like, Well, I wouldn’t even know how to watch the Matrix. It’s not on my homepage on Netflix or whatever the heck that is. Movies are more available now than they ever Bulwark.
  • Speaker 3
    0:14:48

    Certainly in the nineteen nineties where you had to drive somewhere to a video store that only had the specific number of movies that it had. And if you were in a small market, you indie films, older films, not things that aren’t new popular blockbusters. Those were hard to access.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:04

    Well, look. This is veering very, very rapidly towards kids these days’ territory, and I don’t I don’t want to do that specifically, but I do think, Alyssa, that it is Look. You know, maybe this is just how art forms change and die. I you know, people don’t have the patience to sit down and watch you know, an opera. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:22

    They they don’t have the the nobody sitting down and reading epic poetry anymore. That’s that’s just not what people do for fun. And I do kind of worry about the same thing happening to movies. Even though it I I like, it’s so bizarre to me to think of because it’s the most accessible art form that’s ever been made. Ever.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:40

    I don’t know.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:41

    Well, also people have the patience to sit down and play mid video games for hours. Right? I mean, this strikes me as not sort of totally true. And even if it’s totally true, you know what? It’s really bad.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:52

    It’s bad not to be able to concentrate on something. It’s bad not to be able to immerse yourself in something. It’s bad to be hyper stimulated and distracted and not fully engaged all the time. It’s bad. And it’s also bad to be so, you know, emmeshed in learned helplessness that you can’t, like, Google, where can I watch the matrix?
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:11

    Right? I just the idea that people want to be just sort of brains in the vat consuming whatever that they’re fed is monumentally depressing to me And I don’t think it’s inevitable, and I think that surrender to that is kind of gross and should be resisted at all costs. All of which is a way of saying, watch the matrix because it might convince you that there’s some value to getting off phone once in a while. I’m an old, just like, send me, send me to, you know, the glue factory. I’m elderly, I’m turning forty this year.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:43

    I’m like, But for the love of god, like, learn to sit down for an hour and read a book, learn to sit down for two hours and watch a movie. Like, at the elbow drop, house, they’ll bring you, like, all sorts of legal stimulants, and you can watch the movie, and you will have a good time. Just Well,
  • Speaker 3
    0:16:58

    they they won’t give you seventeen. I’m not even sure. That they allow minors into those grand houses. But,
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:03

    and But, like, they’ll give you sugar and caffeine and popcorn and, like, all of the french fries you could eat. And, It’s just fun. It’s it’s bad to be a jittery little rat who can’t sit still for two hours.
  • Speaker 3
    0:17:17

    One thing I will say is that alyssa Rosenberg. Yeah. That’s that’s a fiery, social conservative Alyssa Rosenberg on this show folks. One thing I will say is that the the younger folks that I know who are in who are in their twenties, who are out of college. You know, who are kind of smart odd balls like is kind of feel like they’re outsiders in the culture for the most part, even if they feel pretty comfortable with themselves.
  • Speaker 3
    0:17:44

    All of them are probably better versed in older movies than I would have assumed than the folks that I knew in my twenties. And that’s because they have access to them because they know how to Google that stuff, and they know how to find that stuff, and they have gone out of their way. And I think that for for the unusual weird kids who wanna be into who are into older stuff, who’ve always right, like, even in in the nineteen nineties. Right? Like, you had kids who read the old novels and, you know, has watched had, like, comprehensive knowledge of old television and, you know, old music and that sort of stuff.
  • Speaker 3
    0:18:17

    For that type of of young person, they are absolutely reacting against that thing that Alyssa was talking about that you know, that they perceive is kind of melting the brains of their generation. And so they’re watching a lot of older stuff, and they’re going out of their way to find time to not be hyper or overstimulated, you know, on social media and etcetera. To be clear, I think that’s a relative minority, but, it’s not but it is a it is a there is a backlash that is brewing to that tendency.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:50

    Alright. So what do we think? Is it a controversy or an controversy that, you know, kids kids these days, man? Can can you believe him? Alyssa?
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:58

    Contiversity kids these days free yourself from the machines.
  • Speaker 3
    0:19:02

    Peter, you should see the matrix Secret Podcast was first envisioned after a joint screening of the Matrix. It’s the movie that I have seen in the theaters the most number of times, if you haven’t seen it, it’s a controversy to me personally.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:19

    Yeah. Kids these days are a controversy. Alright. Make sure to swing by Bulwark Plus for our bonus episode on Moody sci fi. We could call it like sad phi maybe.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:28

    You know, no one No one can hear you scream in space, but everyone can hear you cry a little bit. So make sure you you come come by on Friday for that. And now on to the main event. Spaceman, the latest Adam Sandler production for Netflix, directed by Johan Renk, who’s probably best known to folks as the Director of the Chernobyl mini series and adapted from the Czech novel spaceman of Bohemia by screenwriter Colby Day. Spaceeman follows Jacob who’s played by Adam Sandler as he enters the final days of a check run mission to visit a strange purple cloud that has appeared in our so system.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:03

    He is the only member of this mission. It’s just a one man crew. And he’s keeping in touch with the world via the faster than light communication device, the Check Connect. Which is very pregnant wife, Lenka, played by Carrie Mulligan, is studiously ignoring since she has decided to leave him. Check Space Command, Commissioner two minds played by Isabella Rosalini, refuses to relay this message.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:24

    But the lack of communication is still getting to Jacob who in his solace turns to a giant space spider that crawled out of his face and took up residency in the bathroom of the spaceship. If you did if that didn’t clue you in space men, slightly weird movie in which, Adam Sandler talks to a giant CGI spider who’s voiced by Paul Dana in a spaceship It feels less like a space travel movie and more of a therapy movie. Right? The giant spider Hanush is filling the role of doctor Mel Anish wants to understand why humanity feels so lonely only to realize that as Jacob himself, not humanity, writ large that feels lonely. Hanush must help Jacob reconnect with his loved ones if he’s going to achieve real fulfillment, etcetera, etcetera.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:06

    Alienation from oneself and humanity in general an obvious thematic point of this film, and there are little touches throughout driving home the idea without didactically dwelling on it. Right? I thing I love most, the little the little quirk, the little touch I love most is the way Jacob is, forced to promote the mission sponsors on camera anytime he wants to do something, like, say, if he wants decontaminated ship because there’s a giant spider talking to him and he thinks that’s gonna get rid of it. He has to say the the name of the Bumba you know, decontamination pesticide thing, or the focus on, getting the onboard cameras working again before he’s allowed to work on fixing his toilet. The noisiness of which is keeping him up, nights and killing his ability to get a full night’s sleep.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:49

    I find this movie fascinating because I don’t think it entirely Bulwark. But the reason it doesn’t entirely work is also the reason that if I had to guess that it exists, right? So under his production deal with Netflix, Adam Sandler has pretty lie wide latitude to make whatever he wants. And that usually manifests itself in movies like the murder mystery series or you are so not invited to my Mitzvah, which stars his daughter sunny as the butt Mitzvah girl. Sandler doesn’t often play the straight man, even in what we call his more serious performances.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:18

    Right? And funny people, he’s still a stand up comedian. In punch drunk love, he’s an awkward goof of the sort he plays in other movies just like kind of terrifying because it’s in a sort of our reality. In uncut gems, he’s a twitchy addict. There’s there’s all sorts of, like, interesting, but still very funny elements to these more serious productions.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:36

    Here he is the straightest straight man who ever stuck a ramrod pull up his spine. It’s not just that he’s serious. It’s that he is does not seem to understand what humor is. I don’t I don’t think he smiles once in the whole movie. May I might be wrong.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:53

    He probably does, but I it’s just it’s very serious. It’s deathly, deathly serious. And whether that’s You know, because the character is depressed or because he’s suffered traumas like the death of his father for being a communist informant or he’s simply just not a funny guy naturally, it’s hard to say. Point is the guy is very, very dour. And and again, this is this is why the movie is interesting even if it doesn’t work.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:15

    What makes America’s number one cinematic funny man? And I don’t say that jokingly or lightly, comedic cinema has moved almost entirely to Netflix and he is king over there as the streamers numbers have shown time and time again. Why does the king of American comedy want to examine a lonely cosmonaut disconnection from humanity and his own family. Why so serious, Adam Sandler? The best performance in the picture, I think, is, Paul Dana’s voice work as Hanush, which makes some sense because Danaos made a career out of playing weird little guys with interesting voices, like the child preacher and there will be blood, and the tortured suspect in prisoners.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:49

    Hannush is almost definitionally a weird little guy, and he’s got a weird little voice. And he’s a he’s a again, he’s giant space spider slash therapist. Alyssa, what did you make of spaceman?
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:01

    I found it weirdly charming. Like, I’m not again, I’m not sure Bulwark. But it’s so odd that I’m kind of glad it exists. I I also kinda fascinating. I mean, you mentioned that Sandler has chosen to play a character who’s not he’s not just playing straight.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:18

    He’s playing Dower, right? And he’s Also, it’s interesting to me that they decided to keep the sort of post cold war check setting where you know, you have these sort of odd remnants of a different era. You have the sort of oddly underdeveloped, you know, political backstory for Jacob’s father. And you have the this sort of interestingly post cold war aesthetic. I mean, the idea that Adam Sandler was interested in playing, not just sort of a depressed astronaut, but like a depressed check astronaut dealing with the trauma, of the Soviet era.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:58

    It’s really not what you would expect. I think the movie is a little funnier than you give it credit for. Right? Like, when, you know, Hanyush, the giant spider thing basically gets addicted to this giant thing of Nutella that’s sitting there eating it and talking about how it helps him deal with the sort of general misery of Jacob’s character and his emotional failings. Like, That’s pretty funny.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:23

    Right? Like, the idea that you would bring,
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:25

    you
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:25

    know, a giant vat of Natella to, like, your encounter with a cosmic space apocalypse thing. Again, fairly funny. Maybe just the Natella jokes are good. But It’s sort of a it is a sort of oddly touching movie. And you didn’t talk at all about Terry Morgan’s performance as Leica.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:48

    But again, it’s you have this very it’s kind of nice to have a non patient female character, you know, in these types of movies, right? Like the sort of, like, sad man goes to space and encounters his feelings out among the Oort cloud. There’s this constant staple of the sort of the woman, the daughter, the wife at home who, you know, has been, who is continuing to be patient and stoic. And to have Boligan play a character who’s like, no, I’m done with this. Like, I You made up a reason to get off the phone with me when I had a miscarriage when you were in space, and I’m gonna go have my baby in a fancy spot, and you can go after yourself.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:32

    Is sort of an interesting character, which makes the movies very sort of sentimental turn at the end, kind of unfortunate. Like, I actually found Boligan somewhat more interesting here than I did in Maestro, which is partially because I just hated Maestro as a movie in a way that I did hate this. But there’s no denying that it’s quite odd. I mean, it’s an odd movie. And I, again, I was sort of won over there by that, but I couldn’t mount any sort of defense that it works or is a good idea.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:04

    It’s just so bizarre that it kind of put a fritz in my critical wiring.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:10

    Yeah. It’s it’s it is very it’s just a very strange movie. And I again, I I think points for strangeness can be awarded. I I think, you know, again, this is this is kind of the ideal scenario for which Netflix is good. I I don’t that this is the sort of movie that makes sense as a theatrical production.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:29

    I don’t know that it’s a sort of thing that, you know, folks would necessarily show up to, but you put it on Netflix they can spend a little more money on it, and it gets it gets a little more attention than it otherwise would have. I don’t know. Peter, what did you make of spaceman?
  • Speaker 3
    0:27:42

    Well, like Alyssa said, it’s a tremendously odd movie and kind of charming in a way. I I actually I think the concept here is one that it’s so strange that once you hear it, once you think of it, it’s the sort of thing that you think, oh, I guess I would be interested in a movie about that. And I think Adam Sandler is an ad a version of that movie with Adam Sandler could work, but I think this movie has some script problem. It has a really interesting idea that it only sort of knows what to do with. There just isn’t that much development of what’s going on in the the a plot in the in the main story, which is Adam Sandler and the Paul Dino spider thing in a spaceship.
  • Speaker 3
    0:28:28

    Most of the all of that stuff is just there to excavate his backstory. And that’s a weird choice to build a whole big high concept movie, a a rare like the high concept thing, there’s, you know, there’s a little bit of development, but it doesn’t really go anywhere. It’s mostly just there to talk about the Polish communist relationship stuff. Like, what? What?
  • Speaker 3
    0:28:56

    Like, and I thought and that was the most interesting stuff in the movie. Right? Like, I wanted There’s a, like, I I kinda almost don’t want this to be a science fiction movie. I just want this to be an earthly tale of a difficult romance because every time Carrie Moga, I thought Carrie Mogan actually gave the best performance here. Every time she’s on screen, thought the movie was much more interesting, and I thought the the dynamic there on earth was just much more interesting than anything happening in the spaceship, and that’s because they they never really wanted the spaceship stuff to go anywhere.
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:27

    They just wanted to use it as a vehicle to get to to investigate the earth stuff. That’s a very odd choice. The the movie is a meme.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:36

    The movie is a meme. Men men would rather go to space and hang out with a giant sweater and then go to therapy.
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:42

    Yeah. Right. So so, again, it’s a it’s one of these movies that has, like, such a strange elevator vader pitch. Adam Sandler in that men will literally movie. And that you kinda, it’s like, okay.
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:54

    I can kinda get why Netflix bought it because what Netflix Jonathan Last seems to do, especially with some of their smaller projects, is they buy a concept and they buy talent, a star or, a name director of some sort. And then I just feel like they never develop their script well enough. There is not. There is not a a supervisor there who can take good ideas and turn them into great scripts. Every now and then, Netflix produces an original film that that works on its own that has a great script.
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:25

    I think the killer’s script is actually really quite good in its own way. But most of the time, it just doesn’t happen, and and it just seems like they’re buying they’re buying talent and and concepts without, but they’re not taking that and, like, refining those scripts and refining those stories to get to where the movies actually work on their own terms.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:44

    Yeah. I mean, I’m always hesitant I’m always hesitant to ascribe script problems to anything that I haven’t read the script or the source material for, which is the case here. I haven’t read the novel. So I don’t I don’t know what what what got kept and what got taken out. I don’t know, you know, I didn’t read the script, so I don’t know precisely what that looked like.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:04

    And and, you know, again, I I think the real issue here is not I just think the thing is miscast. As Alyssa said, you know, I actually enjoyed watching this in in a in one very specific regard, which is that it is very, very weird. And we have a dearth of weirdness, out there. There There is a there’s a lot of weird stuff that we could, be getting and we aren’t, and this is amusingly and enjoyably weird. But,
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:30

    you know But it’s conceptually weird is the thing. Right? The it it’s it is constantly hitting you over the head or at least, like, hitting you in the face with this is a weird idea. Does it go to interesting places with its weirdness? I think it I think the problem is that it doesn’t.
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:46

    There’s just not a lot of there’s not enough world building. There’s not enough plot here. It’s backstory and feelings. That are elevated by a strikingly bizarre concept. And it’s that lack of narrative drive and development especially in the a plot that makes this movie interesting, but kind of inert.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:11

    Yeah. I think that’s right.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:12

    I I I would say my other my other issue with this with this movie is that I am, I am, a therapy skeptic in the sense that I am not, you know, a huge fan of talking about feelings, believe it or not. And so, when when That’s
  • Speaker 3
    0:32:27

    why we watch movies together, man,
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:30

    In this movie is is very much like we’re gonna do therapy, but it’s gonna be in space with a big spider. So, you know, that that game that gets you halfway there for me. The space, big spider, not not sold on the therapy necessarily. But, no, I, I, alright. Sunny.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:45

    So what do we
  • Speaker 3
    0:32:46

    if You could if someone could go to therapy and their therapist was a big talking spider with a Paul Dano voice, Would that maybe change your mind about it a little bit?
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:57

    Well, no. But then it wouldn’t be weird. It would just be normal. That would just be regular life. And I I wouldn’t be interested in that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:03

    That would be if, like, again, if, like, imagine the Sopanos, but doctor Melfy is like, three spiders in a trench coat. And it’s like, you know, I don’t know that that would necessarily you know, that that that doesn’t that that changes things, but in a bad way. So alright. So what do we think? Thumbs up her thumbs down on space panel.
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:22

    I feel like it would be an interesting movie to watch after eating a gummy. So I don’t know.
  • Speaker 3
    0:33:27

    A perfectly legal gummy that is just has some sugar in it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:33

    What on earth are you guys talking about? Drugs, man. That’s neither that’s That’s neither a thumbs up nor a thumbs down, both of you. I I will I’ll I’ll continue the thread here and go thumb sideways because again, I I’ve I’ve I like it and it’s kinda interesting. It’s also I don’t know that it works.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:50

    This is a this is a you know, it’s a weird episode for a weird movie. We’ll go there.
  • Speaker 3
    0:33:55

    This is the best movie to take us the the best spider based movie to watch while on a mind altering substance of your choice that has come out this year. But there are two.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:08

    Are we in well, now I guess, dune two doesn’t count because there’s no spider spider lady in dune two.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:14

    Alright. It’s just worms.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:15

    Alright. Alright. This is I’m I’m calling a cap on this. This is ridiculous. This episode spiraled out of control.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:21

    That is it for today’s show. Many thanks to our audio engineer, Jonathan Last, without whom this program would sound much worse. Make sure to swing by Bulwark Plus on Friday for our bonus So tell your friends a strong recommendation from a friend is basically the only way to grow podcast audiences if no girl will die. If you did not love today’s episode, please complain to me on Twitter at I’ll convince you that it is in fact the best show in your podcast feed. See you guys on Friday.
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