Episode 284 – Citizen Kane (1941)

Welcome to Max Foster Levine and No One Else; Movies. I, and I alone, have come up with our new series “Didn’t Win. Didn’t Win. Didn’t Win.” and don’t you forget it! Yes, yes, I may have had some partner or other at some point but I sent him packing when he showed his vast lack of vision at my brilliant choice of “Citizen Kane” as an example of the Worst Movie Ever. Seriously, what a stinker. You all have probably never even heard of this turkey, given the hideous performances, ludicrous script, and barf-inducing direction and camera work by some hack who sold frozen peas. Everyone hates this movie. Yes, they do! Don’t tell me what you think, I’ll tell YOU what you think! You hear me?! My opinions of movies are the only ones that matter!! You all listen to me and no one else! LISTEN TO ME! I’M MAX FOSTER LEVINE AND I . . . I . . . I . . . my heart . . . {thud} . . . . . {whispered} In July . . . .

Poll question: what do you think is the best motion picture ever made? Not necessarily your favorite, but the best made?

Episode 283 – The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Somewheeeerre, off in the podcast
Movies play
And my buddy and me chat
About them throughout the day.
Somewhere, off in the podcast,
We’ll talk flicks.
And we’ll just keep on talking
’cause we’re a pair of . . . Um, ok, that’s enough singing for now!

Yes, believe it or not, the classic “The Wizard of Oz” was nominated for but did not win Best Picture for 1939! Jiminy Cricket! How did this happen? Did the Academy just not have any brains that year? Did their collective heart turn to stone? Did they have no courage? Did they all desperately want to return to Kansas? Give a listen to this week’s “Didn’t Win. Didn’t Win. Didn’t Win” and find out! Run, Toto, run!

Poll question: what is your favorite theme song from a non-musical movie?

Episode 282 – Brokeback Mountain (2005)

We’ve got us a brand-new series! How often does that happen? Well, pretty often, but that’s part of the magic! This week, we’re kicking off our series “Didn’t Win. Didn’t Win. Didn’t Win” where we discuss movies that seemed like a lock for the Best Picture Oscar but instead were cruelly and viciously stomped upon by some other film that took their statue, stole their lunch money, and made fun of them at recess. That’s how the Academy works; don’t dispute me! Our first nominee is 2005’s “Brokeback Mountain,” a beautiful and heartbreaking story of love, social expectations, toxic masculinity, and a bunch of other stuff that I’M NOT CRYING YOU’RE CRYING SHUT UP! Sure, this movie is terrific, but was its Oscar loss understandable? Or were there . . .  other factors (I’m looking at you, Illuminati!)

Poll question: what’s your favorite filmic love story?

Episode 281 – Forty Guns (1957)

We’re closing out “Because Patton Said So” with one last entry from Patton Oswalt’s choices from the Criterion Collection. And as we mosey into the sunset, on our cayuse (which I think is a small Yugoslavian car, don’t quote me on that), we’re taking a gander at a Sam Fuller Western, 1957’s “Forty Guns.” The central premise of this movie is: do you really need forty guns? I mean, wouldn’t thirty-five guns be enough? But this movie dares to ask the question: what if, in fact, you need to shoot forty things? You’d feel pretty silly just standing there with thirty-five guns and five things left to shoot, wouldn’t you? Didn’t think of that, did you? Well, now who’s confused about the plot or themes of this movie (it’s me, isn’t it . . .)? Not to worry, Mike and I get things sorted out in this week’s episode, so give a listen and see how we manage it! Oh, and by the way . . . YEEEEE-HAAAWWWW! (ow, ow, ow, I hurt myself, ow, ow, ow . . . )

Poll question: If you like Westerns, what is your favorite Western? Or do you dislike the entire genre?

Episode 280 – Female Trouble (1974)

Heeewack, campers! We’ve got another choice selection from the list of Filmaster Oswalt! He’s brought us obscure, powerful noir films, languid, elegant Japanese films, so what tasteful, understated lyrical selection has he made for us . . . oh. Oh. OHHH!!!! OH GOD MY EYES MY EYES WHAT’S HAPPENING WHAT THE HELL IS THIS OHGODOHGODOHGODOHGOD . . . Umm . . . I mean . . . well, this John Water’s . . . classic is certainly a change of pace for us. Yes. That’s what it is. Seriously, this film is . . . really something. I think the process of creating this film went something like this:

Hollywood: Well, it’s 1968 and we’ve finally done away with the Hayes Code! What kind of shock could possibly come of this decision?

John Waters in 1974: Hold my beer.

Yes, John Waters, the man who puts the “cult” in “culture” created this entry, which was astonishingly shocking and transgressive for it’s time. But now it’s fifty years later, so it probably seems very tame, even dull . . . right? Right? Mike, why won’t you look at me . . .?

Poll question: What is the cheapest made movie you’ve ever come to love?

Episode 279 – The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice (1952)

Once again, we are pleased to bring you a film selection suggested by one Mr. Patton Oswalt (and there is only one of him, at least until I perfect my cloning-and-memory-imprint-transfer device, which should be any day now; I just need to find one more set of old skee-ball machine gears . . .): Yasujirō Ozu’s 1952  work “The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice.” And just what is the flavor of green tea over rice? Does it taste like victory? Does it taste like the slow but inescapable realization that your favorite Aunt may have an online gambling addiction? Does it just taste like wet rice? Or does it taste like something else entirely? I’m positive it’s one of those three things (spoiler alert: according to Ozu, I got all three of those things wrong. Oh well. That’s why he was a director and I’m directionless). Patton chose this film out of all of Ozu’s films because . . . well, that would be telling, wouldn’t it? You’ll have to tune in to find out, and you’ll have to listen to all of it, because I won’t reveal the answer to that quandary until the very, very end of the episode (spoiler alert: that’s a lie; you’ll find out fairly early on).

Poll question: who is one actor whose success absolutely baffles you? Just makes you think “how did this person become a movie star?”

Episode 278 – Detour (1945)

Welcome to a brand-spanking-new series (a spanking! A spanking!), inspired by someone Mike and I both admire and enjoy: Patton! That’s right, when you put your hand in a pile of goo that five minutes ago was a movie’s guts . . . wait, hang on, wrong Patton . . . No, indeed, this series is inspired and shaped not by the legendary general and tank-commander but by legendary standup-comedian, actor, author, and inventor of those little plastic things that hold bread bags closed (well, he COULD have invented those! He’s just that good!), Patton Oswalt! Please, please hold your applause until the end. This series takes movies from Patton’s personal choices from the mythical Criterion Closet, that fabled collection of classic movies where angels fear to tread or eagles dare or Abbott and Costello meet the wolfman. One of those collections. And lest you fear that we are simply plagiarizing Mr. Oswalt’s list, let me assure you that I personally contacted Patton and he personally said “Of course, Max, use my list! We’re best friends now and you should hang out with me and Aimee Mann and Weird Al Yankovic in my secret solid gold orbiting pleasure satellite!” In my mind, that’s exactly what happened, rather than Mike’s silly assertion that I actually heard from some very nice people on Patton’s management team who managed to overlook my frothing at the mouth and my screams of “Patton! I would scorch the earth for you!!!” and said it was fine if we used his list for inspiration. And that’s just what we’re doing! We’re starting off with a lesser-known noir film from 1945, “Detour.” Give a listen and see what we (and Patton) thought of this one. Did it deserve a slot in our “Walk the Dark Street” series? And Patton, if you’re reading this (and in my mind, you are), please don’t worry. I wouldn’t ACTUALLY scorch the earth for you. But, if you wanted a small, uninhabited section of Billings, Montana slightly singed . . .

Poll question: what actor do you feel never got their due? Just didn’t get the big roles or the accolades?

Episode 277 – Barbie (2023)

Today, the laughter has died. Yes, we’ve come to the end of our “What’s So Funny?” series; we’re all sorry to see it end, as it means nothing will ever be funny again but we urge you all to stiffen that upper lip, square those shoulders, and do your best to carry on. We’re closing this out with another listener suggestion, the recent “Barbie” movie! This movie was immensely popular but as we’ve seen recently, not without controversy, and I think we all know what the issue is: where are the most significant iterations of Barbie?! Why were they left out of this tribute?! Where’s Kaiju Barbie, with Realistic Trample-able City? What happened to Soccer Hooligan Barbie (with Broken Beer Bottletm and life-like facial scars)? What about Shinsengumi Barbie with her Sparkle-Katana, attempting to bring law and order to Edo-period Japan? Ok, it’s possible I just imagined that last one. Ok, maybe I imagined all of them, but that’s not the point! My hallucinations should be canon and I know none of you will rest until this has been made right! Delusion Enabling Barbie told me so! Anyway, slip into something pink, grab a brewski-beer, and give a listen!

Poll question: what movie do you think SHOULD have won the Oscar for Best Picture but didn’t?

Episode 276 – The Cheap Detective (1978)

Welcome to our penultimate “What’s So Funny?” episode; this week we’ve got a Neil Simon-penned (or more likely typewritered) little number, the spiritual sequel, sort of, to a movie both Mike and I really enjoy, “Murder By Death,” another Neil Simon creation. This one focuses more on one genre: the hard-boiled detective movie, more specifically, the hard-boiled Humphrey Bogart detective movie. I mean, the detective in the movie is hard-boiled, not Humphrey Bogart. Hard-boiling Humphrey Bogart would be horrible. Really. Everyone knows that you should pan-sear your Humphrey Bogart for optimum flavor and mouth-feel. Mmmm . . . delicious first-half-of-the-twentieth-century-acting flavor . . . Oh, um, sorry, where was I, why am I drooling . . . anyway, give a listen and see if Mike and I think this one lives up to its predecessor or if it’s a case of cinematic . . . muuuuurrrrrrddderrrrrrr.

Poll question: what’s your favorite musical moment in a movie, either a staged number or spontaneous playing or singing?