The M&M Report: Spring Movie Roundup

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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 Maybe there was an outdated perception that good movies didn’t come out during Oscar season?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.

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The M&M Report: “Unsane”

UnsaneDevin and I review Steven Soderbergh’s latest post-retirement film Unsane, which is not the work of a man who has committed to retirement in any literal sense.

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The M&M Report: Instant(-ish) Reaction to the 2018 Oscars

Fish.jpgDevin and I started recording an episode just after finishing the 2018 Oscars. This is not that episode, but it’s close enough.

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The M&M Report: “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and “The Post”

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West Coast correspondent Erin Vail returns to nerd out with me and Devin over Star Wars: The Last Jedi (0:00-23:20). Then they poke gentle fun at The Post for being, well, not unsubtle (23:20-38:50). Before she leaves, Erin drops a few pop culture recommendations of her own (38:50-end).

For more Erin content, check out her podcast, writing for The Prompt and consistently delightful Twitter feed.

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Goodbye, 2017

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I couldn’t let 2017 slip away without indulging one more look back at the year in pop culture. Here are a few things that brought me joy. (And here are a few more.)

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The M&M Report: Highlights from a Tumultuous Year

hero_917d0d43fac07d9b38e726d62367ffb766cc8a26cd0834013c0b7e93b2d06dd18ff73654868ecfcbf425d91d95ffece5.jpgAs 2017 draws (crawls? barrels?) to a close, the time has come to reflect on what made us laugh, cry and think — or all three — in the last 12 months.

Devin Mitchell and I recorded 19 episodes of The M&M Report in 2017. Highlights included all-out fisticuffs over La La Land, a look back at the pop culture legacy of President Obama and a look ahead at the impact of President Trump; a long-awaited deep dive into Game of Thrones; a sober reflection amid the Harvey Weinstein allegations; and a truly revolutionary take on the acclaimed movie Lady Bird.

But there’s plenty more entertainment we didn’t have time to address on air. Here’s a look back at a few more of our favorite cultural items of the year.

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