Devin and I have returned from a long hiatus with discussion of Set It Up (0:00-21:00), First Reformed (21:00-End), Pete Davidson + Ariana Grande, BDE and a largely silent but ever-present guest.
It’s been an unusually active year for major motion pictures. Looking at the box office receipts might not tell the whole story — many of this year’s most interesting movies have drawn low grosses, thanks to some combination of weak-willed marketing and ill-considered scheduling.
Money doesn’t tell the whole story, though. Allow The M&M Report to fill in the rest. We’ll walk you through a non-comprehensive list of 2018’s highlights. But first, Devin, let me throw it to you — any theories on why we’ve been so excited to head to the multiplex so far this year?
Devin: Good movies are coming out! People realize that it’s possible for a film released early in the year to be commercially and critically successful. Get Out, which came out February of last year, probably did a lot to shift expectations, but the early months have been underserved relative to the rest of the year for awhile. Maybe there was an outdated perception that good movies didn’t come out during Oscar season? But to some extent this is just speculation.
In any event, I think it’s a positive development, even if all of movies covered here didn’t land in the way Black Panther did. Mark, what do you think is going on? And is there any credence to the idea that the plethora of good films this spring has anything to do with middling television?
Mark: I think it’s always tough to make blanket assertions about The State of Film or The State of TV. But I myself feel more engaged in what’s happening on the big screen right now. As summer movie season has become increasingly engulfed by massive spectacles designed to attract international audiences, the weirder, smaller movies that tend to draw me to the theater get pushed to spring and fall (or to Netflix, but that’s a separate conversation). The increasing fragmentation of the TV landscape means it’s now far easier to be “caught up” on movies worth seeing than it is to be “caught up” on new television that might be worth watching. And you don’t need a plethora of cable subscriptions or passwords from your friends and relatives to go see a movie — it’s hard to beat the simplicity of walking up to a counter and purchasing an immediately redeemable ticket.
I’m pleased about the number of intriguing films from respected or interesting directors that have come out recently, because it’s a reminder to check yourself whenever you’re tempted to utter the phrase, “Movies are bad now.” Rome wasn’t built in a day, and an entire medium doesn’t crumble in one either. Here are a few examples to prove the point.
Having finally recovered from last year’s Best Picture snafu, Devin and I are back with our best guesses for this year’s Oscar winners. Here are our respective ballots, compiled separately.
(Devin and I discussed several of this year’s nominated films on our podcast. Do us a favor and check out our thoughts on Get Out; Baby Driver and Dunkirk; Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; Lady Bird; Molly’s Game and Call Me By Your Name; and Star Wars: The Last Jedi and The Post. Subscribe to The M&M Report on iTunes and Spotify, and check your feeds Monday morning for our fifth annual post-Oscars recap, to be recorded just minutes after the telecast ends.)
On our latest episode, Devin and I try very hard not to spoil The Good Place (0:00-4:50)…and then they just give up and spoil it, because life’s too short (4:50-End).
After you listen, check out TV critic Alison Herman’s interview about the show with her philosopher father.