NYFF58 at Home Dispatch #1: Lovers Rock, Fauna, and The Calming

I’ve been attending the New York Film Festival for nearly a decade and, because of various scheduling factors and assignments, I’ve known it largely as a venue for splashy, high-end premieres of one sort or another. Even though many of the NYFF selections typically hit Cannes, Toronto, and/or Venice first, they’ll still, say, be the first place anywhere that shows Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice, or Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies, or Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, under optimal conditions and maximum excitement. The Irishman is a perfect case in point, not just for the massive hype of a major fall movie shown for the first time, but for a more recent phenomenon: Last year especially, New York Film Fest became a go-to destination for catching movies that otherwise might not play on a big screen near you.

Of course, The Irishman and Marriage Story and the previous year’s Ballad of Buster Scruggs all did get theatrical engagements before their Netflix bows. But they were always tied up in uncertainty over which theaters would agree to Netflix’s shortened-window terms, and whether those theaters would give those movies anything better than token shoebox-auditorium engagements (Netflix seems semi-committed to theatrical releases for its prestige projects, but also reneges on promised splashiness like the thousands of screens that were supposed to show The Irishman). NYFF was a way for nervous cinephiles to make damn well sure they saw these movies on a big screen.

Now those concerns seem downright laughable. Wondering about whether a movie might play on big enough screens so that it might be experienced with a giant crowd of strangers? Ha, that’s pre-pandemic thinking, the concerns of a more innocent age! The New York Film Festival, like all but a very select few and foolhardy film concerns of the past six months, has moved online. The types of marquee features that might typically populate the opening, centerpiece, and closing slots have largely vacated the release calendar entirely, making a smaller, more streaming-friendly festival. Last year boasted the mid-fest world premiere of The Irishman. This year’s opening night? Part of a TV show Steve McQueen did for Amazon.
Continue reading NYFF58 at Home Dispatch #1: Lovers Rock, Fauna, and The Calming

The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: Bill & Ted & Trilogies

To celebrate the recent release of long-awaited trilogy-creator Bill & Ted Face the Music, your pals at SportsAlcohol.com got together to talk about the new Bill & Ted movie, discuss our wide range of opinions of how well it works, and then have a broader discussion about the state and mechanics of movie trilogies these days. What are the best ones? What one-offs have been ruined into trilogies, and what great trilogies have been ruined with a part four? What makes a great trilogy, any? Are there even any? These questions and more are answered by your most excellent participants!

We are now up to SEVEN (7) different ways to listen to a SportsAlcohol podcast:

The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: The New Mutants

Well, after two and a half years of trailers, blown release dates, rumored but nonexistent reshoots, good buzz, bad buzz, and corporate acquisitions, the movie event of the pandemic is finally here: The New Mutants is out in theaters to accidentally close out the X-Men movie series. Improbably enough, four core members of the SportsAlcohol.com brain trust found a way to see this movie safely without press screenings or VOD. (Please don’t go out to even a semi-crowded movie theater to see The New Mutants or anything else; it’s playing at drive-ins, and some theaters are doing private auditorium rentals, if you are so moved.) So naturally, Jesse, Marisa, Nathaniel, and designated X-pert Rob had to get together to discuss this momentous, uh, footnote to X-Men movie history. Consider this the long-delayed sequel to our last X-Men movie episode! And consider it our last episode about the Fox era of X-Men on film… or is it?!?! Consider this your starting buzz for a Magik spinoff in 2022!

We are now up to SEVEN (7) different ways to listen to a SportsAlcohol podcast:

The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: Top Movies of Summer 1990

It’s that time of year again… again! Your pals at SportsAlcohol.com have made an annual trip back 20 years to discuss the biggest summer movies of 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995, and 1994. While we’re hotly anticipating our review of Summer 2001 blockbusters to be recorded in 2021, we felt unfinished, moving on from the 1990s with several years left uncovered. So we decided to double up and jump back thirty years for a look at the top box-office earners (and a few others) from summer 1990. Yes, this means you have episodes about 2001 and 1991 to anticipate next summer. And you have a brand-new episode to listen to right now that includes Jesse, Marisa, Becca, Nathaniel, and Jeremy chatting about:

    • Hotshot doctors and lawyers! Like on TV!
    • Future Expendables Arnold, Bruce, and Mel!
    • Sequels back when sequels were mostly bad! (With two fantastic exceptions.)
    • Justice for Demi Moore!
    • The next Batman that wasn’t! Except for a few of us!
    • AND MORE!!!

We are now up to SEVEN (7) different ways to listen to a SportsAlcohol podcast:

The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: Best Movies of 2020

Usually around this time of year, we do a seasonal episode about the various indie movies of the summer, and then an episode in January about the best movies of the preceding year. But honestly, who the hell knows what the rest of 2020 has in store for us? So this year we’ve decided to just call it off and talk about some of the best movies of 2020 right now, in August. Would Tenet or The New Mutants have made our informal list? Who knows?! And who cares?! We had more than enough good movies to fill a supersized episode anyway, all of which you can currently watch at home without getting covid! Join Marisa, Sara, Nathaniel, Jeremy, and Jesse as we console ourselves with cinema!

We are now up to SEVEN (7) different ways to listen to a SportsAlcohol podcast:

The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: Billboard Charts 2000!

It’s that other, similar but different time of year again: Time for us at SportsAlcohol.com to get together and take a selected tour through the full-year Billboard Hot 100 chart, talking about the singles we love, hate, and swear we’ve never heard in our lives. About the length of a killer mix tape, this episode crams in analysis, nostalgia, tangents, and everything else, covering, I don’t know, like 30 different pop songs across genres and tastes. It’s like what we did in 1999 and 1996, only this time it’s the YEAR 2000, BABY! So join Rob, Jesse, Marisa, and Jason on a wild ride through the first and/or last year of the millennium! And the Willennium! And the time when terrible pop-country dominated the charts!

We are now up to SEVEN (7) different ways to listen to a SportsAlcohol podcast:

The SportsAlcohol.com Mini-Podcast: Desperados, starring Nasim Pedrad

The SportsAlcohol.com podcast is generally not a one-movie-at-a-time type show. We cover filmographies, genres, franchises… and sometimes, individual movies that simply demand our attention. For reasons we cannot fully explain, Desperados, a new Netflix comedy starring Nasim Pedrad, was such a movie. I learned this movie was dropping on Netflix like three days before it happened, and I was so excited that fellow A.V. Club freelancer, SNL fan, and all-around delightful pop-culture writer LaToya Ferguson was equally excited and willing to talk to me about this unexpected Nasim star vehicle! So here we are, talking about Nasim Pedrad, Desperados, and which SNL stars we’d love to see getting the Judd Apatow-style 2.5-hour semi-autobiographical treatment, among other topics. You’re welcome, nerds!

We are now up to SEVEN (7) different ways to listen to a SportsAlcohol podcast:

The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: Top Movies of Summer 2000

It’s that time of year again: Time for us at SportsAlcohol.com to get together and go on a long, wild, fast-paced trip down memory lane to look at the highest-grossing movies at the U.S. domestic box office from twenty years ago. This year, that brings us up to the year 2000, and we may be feeling especially nostalgic given that the summer 2020 movie season is more or less canceled. But not to worry! You can re-experience summer movies past with our own longest-running franchise! From the studio that brought you 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995, and 1994 comes our take on the blockbusters of 2000, including:

    • Star vehicles for Cage, Murphy, and Crowe!
    • Nathaniel’s quest to see his most anticipated movie of the summer!
    • A weird schoolyard story about one of the stars of The Perfect Storm!
    • One of our most-discussed movies ever, back for another relitigation!
    • Chickens!!!!
    • AND MORE!!!

We are now up to SEVEN (7) different ways to listen to a SportsAlcohol podcast:

The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: SNL at Home (and Season 45), Reviewed

Several SportsAlcohol.com friends & fam are regular reviewers of the NBC late-night comedy-variety series Saturday Night Live, and we make it our business to check in with the show every season to see how it’s progressing. We did this in 2019, 2018, 2017, 2015, and 2014. The 2020 check-in for SNL was a particularly strange one, as the show switched to non-live, socially-distanced compilation specials for its final three episodes of an abbreviated 18-episode run. Nathaniel, Michael, Marisa, and Jesse got together (virtually) to talk about how these episodes switch up the SNL dynamic, and other highs and lows of Season 45.

We are now up to SEVEN (7) different ways to listen to a SportsAlcohol podcast: