Best of Mousterpiece Cinema 2012
One of Ricky D‘s constructive criticisms for Josh on joining the site was that his best podcasts were the ones where he was joined by a guest like Gabriel Bucsko for their podcast on The Muppets film. Since Gabe actually works in Hollywood (an experience he discussed during the podcast on the cinematic atrocity Disney Animated classic Fox and the Hound 2) he is not regularly available to do the podcast. I volunteered to be a more regular co-host, taking the opportunity of Gabe being around to boycott films I had no interest in watching or re-watching like say the Disney Direct to Video Sequels, Midquels and Prequels, or films I couldn’t get my hands on, or allow me to take a week off to tend to my job at the YoungCuts Film Festival. I first joined Josh on the 2nd podcast of 2012 about The Mighty Ducks to test if we would work well together and we immediately clicked clashed over Josh’s pro-mouse, anti-duck bias which has become one of the podcast’s running gags.
What makes it work for both Gabe and I, is that Josh does ALL the work. We show up on Skype, flap our jaws and let Josh do the rest. So if you like the Mousterpiece Cinema podcast, Gabe and I are quite willing to steal the credit, but we would be stealing the credit from Josh. And if you don’t like the podcast, direct all complaints to Josh!
(On a more personal note, doing the podcast more or less 3 weeks out of every 4, has forced me to be more consistent in my writing – to write for the site more often and more regularly and this, in turn, has made me a better writer and I am very grateful to Josh for the incentive and the example. As an example, I am getting this column done largely because when we recorded the Monsters Inc. podcast, I said that it would be up at the same time.)
To mark the end of 2012 and a year of the Mousterpiece Cinema Podcast on Sound on Sight, Josh, Gabe and I thought that we should talk a little about our favourite films and moments from 2012.
Gabe: Wreck-It Ralph
Mike: Wreck-It Ralph
Josh: Frankenweenie – Much of the look, feel, and design of Frankenweenie will remind many people why they flocked to the films of Tim Burton in the first place.
Gabe: Wreck-It Ralph
Mike: Lincoln – The genius of Lincoln begins with its script, constructed like a series of ellipses. The film starts with the Gettysburg Address and finishes with Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address; begins in war and ends in peace; opens with a sleepy Tad Lincoln clutching his father and closes with a grieving Tad clamped to a theatre railing.
Gabe: Wreck-It Ralph
Mike: Wreck-It Ralph – At the heart of Wreck-It Ralph is a Taoist parable about the usefulness of uselessness that adds unexpected depth to what at first blush could appear to be a simple, funny animated film trading on nostalgia for old video games.
Josh: The Master – The Master may not be the film some people expect or want; its effect is such that it proves why we should kick our expectations to the curb, though. The film is a haunting elegy about a core struggle of humanity.
Favourite film we watched for the podcast (old or new)
Gabe: Bambi – One of my favorites of all time.
Mike: One Magic Christmas – My favourite Christmas film of all time is a mixture of It’s a Wonderful Life and the spirit behind the “Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus” editorial. I love it for exactly the same reasons that Josh dislikes it, for not waving a magic wand and saving the day. The only thing that changes in Ginny’s life for the better from the start of the film to the end is that at the end of the film she has the Christmas spirit, i.e. hope and that makes all the difference.
Josh: Princess Mononoke – Lot of good choices here, and while I’m tempted to choose something older that I’ve seen many times, like WALL-E, I’m going with Princess Mononoke, a truly expansive, intelligent, and mature war film that also happens to be animated. The fantastical elements are excellently integrated into the story, and the action scenes are truly remarkable. It’s movies like this that make me happy to be doing the podcast. I don’t know if I’d have checked out this film so soon without it.
Gabe: Probably Anthony Breznican from EW. He made some great points about Frankenweenie and had a lot of great background information from his article on Tim Burton, but I found myself on the opposing side of the debate for one of the only times this year. Really wanted to agree with him, and I understood why he loved the film, but I just couldn’t get on board with a positive review. I just found it too muddled in execution, however noble Burton’s intentions may have been. I believe this was the only podcast this year in which I liked the film the least of anyone!
Mike: Kate Kulzick of the Televerse podcast. She came on to do Fantasia with us and her background as a classically trained cellist violinist gave her a completely different perspective on the film, so much so that I really missed not having her on for our Fantasia 2000 podcast. We corrected our mistake for the Enchanted podcast, making her our first two-time special guest and – Quelle Surprise! – her background as a musician added a great deal to the conversation about that very musical Disney film.
Josh: I feel like I’m being asked to pick my favorite child. (Well, maybe that should be reserved for the shows themselves, so maybe I’m being asked to pick my favorite… nephews? Cousins?) If I had a gun to my head, I’d choose one of our first non-Sound on Sight guests, Adam Kempenaar of Filmspotting. He joined us for our The Avengers episode back in May, and while his dissenting opinion may not have been popular – though I’m coming closer to agreeing with him as time goes by – it was a great, intelligent, and welcome perspective to have on the show. Though I certainly imagine most, if not all, Mousterpiece Cinema listeners are fans of the long-running Filmspotting podcast, I hope at least one person who wasn’t already familiar with Adam and his co-host Josh Larsen are now.
Gabe: Probably when Mike yelled at Adam Kempenaar from the Filmspotting podcast when Adam dared to diss Maria Hill from The Avengers! It made for one of the most lively and entertaining digressions in any podcast I heard this year, even one I was recording live!
Mike: My favourite moments on the podcast are always the ones where I take Josh by surprise. I tend to view my mission on the podcast to be the agent of chaos that keeps Josh on his toes. I enjoyed giving Josh a heart attack with my “audible” on the Enchanted podcast, but my favourite moment was the D2: The Mighty Ducks podcast when I first introduced the idea of Ducksterpiece Theatre. An honourable mention for the Mars Needs Moms episode when I started ranting about how that film ignores the law of gravity and Josh was so happy to hear me nitpick.
Josh: The harder Mike laughs, the harder I laugh, so it only took me a few seconds to remember the moment, though I have to admit I can’t remember the specific episode where this moment happened–possibly our The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again show. Back in September, we discussed and eviscerated Mars Needs Moms. A couple of months later, in advance of his new live-action film Flight, the Mars producer Robert Zemeckis qualified it as “the best 3D movie since Avatar.” When I brought this up in collusion with my Flight review, it sounded like I might have killed Mike, he laughed so hard. That’s a difficult moment to forget.
Gabe: I think that The Avengers podcast was the best one from a listening standpoint. So many varied opinions. Even those that disliked the film overall really enjoyed specific scenes or moments, so I think the dissection of beats worked especially well for Joss Whedon’s epic. Also one of the few times this year when talking about the film made me want to go back and see it again, which I did the next day! I encourage any of our listeners who missed that episode or who may have joined in the last few months to go back and catch the The Avengers episode. It’s a lot of fun and quite lively!
Mike: I am very fond of our Fantasia podcast since I love that film and I enjoyed Kate’s contribution so much, but I think the most fun that I have had had on the podcast start to finish was when Josh and I went mano-a-mano about Herbie Goes Bananas. I am not certain if that was the first podcast where Josh and I questioned each other’s sanity, but it was definitely the most entertaining podcast where we questioned each other’s sanity.
Josh: OK, like I said, this is a very hard choice. I hate to cop out and say “They’re ALL my favorites!” even though they are. (I wouldn’t want to post a show if I wasn’t proud of it, honestly.) But again, in the gun-to-my-head scenario, I will choose our Frankenweenie episode, where Mike, Gabe, and I were joined by Entertainment Weekly’s Anthony Breznican. I’m most happy with our show when we not only manage to have different perspectives on a movie, but when a spirited debate springs forth from such difference. Obviously, I think we have spirited debates most weeks, but in discussing the appropriateness of Frankenweenie for kids of varying ages, its horror-movie roots, and Tim Burton’s filmography, I think we had a truly insightful discussion of a film that, sadly, not many people have seen.
As we begin 2013, we (as always) are looking for more listeners, more fans and more feedback.
We currently have three Facebook challenges going on. As I write this, we have 195 likes on our Mousterpiece Cinema Facebook page.
Herbie Challenge: At 200 Facebook Likes of that page, Josh and I will watch all 5 episodes of the 1982 Herbie the Matchmaker TV series and record a Very Special Mousterpiece Cinema Podcast about the Herbie the Love Bug TV series. (This challenge is designed to torture Josh.)
Cinematic Atrocity Challenge: At 250 Facebook Likes of that page, I will join Josh to talk about a Disney Direct To Video Sequel, Midquel or Prequel. We are doing Return of Jafar on June 15th, so we have a few months to hit that mark and force me to talk about the very first Disney direct-to-video animated feature release. (This challenge is designed to torture me.)
Raiders of the Lost Duck Challenge: At 300 Facebook Likes of that page, Josh and I will do a Very Special Mousterpiece Cinema podcast about the Greatest Movie of All Time: Raiders of the Lost Ark
Also at 300 Facebook Likes of that page, Josh and I will also do a Very Special Ducksterpiece Theatre podcast about (arguably) the Worst Movie of All Time: Howard the Duck. (I would be the one arguing.)
(Gabe may join for all, some or none of those Very Special podcasts.)
So spread the word about the Mousterpiece Cinema Podcast! (Also listen to them, they are a lot of fun.)
And on behalf of Josh, Gabe and myself thanks to everyone who listened to us in 2012 and our best wishes for a great 2013!