Junk Filter
Junk Filter
Jesse Hawken
Junk Filter: a podcast about strange and overlooked artifacts from the worlds of film, music and popular culture with a generous side order of jokes and politics. Hosted by Jesse Hawken with guests from the worlds of Politics Twitter and Film Twitter. Original music for the program by Marker Starling. Follow us now on Twitter: @junkfilterpod
114: Jurassic Musk (with Jacob Bacharach)
The novelist and essayist Jacob Bacharach returns to the pod to discuss the Elon Musk era of Twitter in relation to another cautionary tale about what happens when you fool with Mother Nature, Steven Spielberg’s 1993 blockbuster Jurassic Park. It turns out there are unintended consequences to messing around with systems you didn’t understand when you first altered them! We talk about Jurassic Park as a perfect example of blockbuster filmmaking, and how to get over one’s snobbery about Spielberg as a great cinema craftsman, and then we go to town on Twitter's new CEO; "Comedy is now legal on Twitter" proclaimed Musk shortly before discarding the verification system by making a bluecheck available to anyone with a credit card, and just like Jurassic Park, no one in control anticipated what could possibly go wrong. We talk about his misunderstanding of what Twitter is, his new parasitical friendship with Cat Turd, and how his lack of knowledge about comedy, technology and humanity has created this perfect storm, chasing off employees, users and advertisers in what is turning out to be the most expensive 420 joke ever told. Patrons of the Junk Filter podcast receive at least two additional exclusive episodes a month: some of our notable previous guests include Jared Yates Sexton, David Roth, Bryan Quinby, Sooz Kempner, and Will Sloan. More to come! Sign up at https://www.patreon.com/junkfilter Follow Jacob Bacharach on Twitter and visit jacobbacharach.com Teaser trailer for Jurassic Park (Spielberg, 1993)
Nov 21
1 hr 33 min
TEASER - 113: Diego Maradona (with Conrado Falco)
Access this entire 70 minute episode (and additional monthly bonus episodes) by becoming a Junk Filter patron! https://www.patreon.com/posts/113-diego-with-74800431 On the eve of what looks like the most cursed World Cup yet, the host of the Criterion Project podcast Conrado Falco joins the show to discuss Asif Kapadia’s 2019 football documentary Diego Maradona, the Get Back of sports documentaries, assembled from hundreds of hours of video filmed for an abandoned documentary project in the eighties that captured the years Maradona played for SSC Napoli in the Italian premier league. When Maradona arrived in Naples he was considered a superstar and when he left 7 years later he was the most hated man in Italy. In between Maradona dragged his team to Serie A championships, won a World Cup for Argentina with a mixture of cheating and genius, and got mixed up with the Neapolitan crime family and descended into drug abuse and personal chaos. It’s of a piece with Senna and Amy, Kapadia’s earlier documentaries of remarkable lives destroyed by celebrity told with the skillful use of rare personal archival material. Plus: Conrado and I wrestle with the moral dilemma of rooting for Messi and Argentina in a World Cup being held in the human rights hellscape of Qatar. Follow Conrado Falco on Twitter. Conrado has two podcasts: The Criterion Project and Foreign Invader. Check out Conrado's webseries Wormholes on YouTube. Trailer for Diego Maradona (Asif Kapadia, 2019)
Nov 17
3 min
112: American Hustle (with Matthew Perpetua)
Matthew Perpetua of the long-running Fluxblog returns to the pod from Brooklyn, but this time his visit is only tangentially related to Steely Dan. This is an episode about the notorious director David O. Russell, whose first film in 7 years, the all-star Amsterdam, just bombed at the box office. But it has a lot in common with an earlier Russell film that was a big hit with audiences, if not with most critics, 2013’s American Hustle, a film Matthew and I both quite liked. Released in the same month as Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle was derided by some as “Scorsese-lite”, a retread of Goodfellas stuffed with showy performances and cartoonish behaviour. It was reviewed as if it was supposed to be a historical drama (as it was based on the true story of two con artists who worked with the FBI to ensnare corrupt congressmen in the ABSCAM sting operation). But American Hustle worked for us as a ridiculous screwball comedy about desperate people chasing after the American Dream in a cynical age, a film quite possibly made by a madman, though at a time before more sordid details about Russell’s personal conduct became public and tarnished his reputation. We try to make a case for why American Hustle is Good, Actually, but we also discuss why Amsterdam, another loopy story based on another obscure footnote in American history, with even more big names in the cast, doesn’t succeed. With sidebars on the oncoming Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and our views on Elon Musk’s early days of “running” Twitter. Sign up for the Junk Filter Patreon to support the show directly and access dozens of bonus episodes! https://www.patreon.com/junkfilter Follow Matthew Perpetua on Twitter and subscribe to the new Fluxblog Substack! Trailer for American Hustle (Russell, 2013) Trailer for Amsterdam (Russell, 2022) “David O. Russell is latest face of Hollywood’s workplace abuse problem” by Sonia Rao for The Washington Post, October 7, 2022
Nov 6
1 hr 19 min
111: Bram Stoker’s Dracula (with David Moscrop)
The writer and podcaster David Moscrop, a contributing columnist for the Washington Post, returns to the pod from Ottawa to discuss a Spooky Season classic, Francis Ford Coppola’s lavish adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, a film that turned 30 years old this year but like a vampire has barely aged a day. Coppola followed up The Godfather Part III with an ambitious gothic horror with an all-star cast, filmed entirely indoors on sets and soundstages. His visual effects supervisor was his son Roman Coppola, and they decided use techniques from the early days of cinema to adapt a novel from the same period. We discuss the film’s “naive visual effects”, the over-the-top aesthetic from sets to costumes to performances, the film’s horniness which greatly influenced future vampire stories, and we try to mount a defense for the enduring knock against this film, the mannered turn by Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker. Plus: we discuss Ontario Premier Doug Ford trying to weasel out of having to testify at the Emergencies Act inquiry in Ottawa. Sign up for the Junk Filter Patreon to support the show directly and access dozens of bonus episodes! https://www.patreon.com/junkfilter Follow David Moscrop on Twitter, listen to his podcast Open To Debate, and subscribe to his new Substack! From Den of Geek, “Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the Seduction of Old School Movie Magic”, an in-depth discussion with Roman Coppola of the film’s visual effects, by David Crow, October 16, 2020 Trailer for Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Francis Ford Coppola, 1992)
Oct 31
1 hr 11 min
TEASER - 110: Michael Mann: The Keep (with Sean Armstrong)
Access this entire 75 minute episode (and additional monthly bonus episodes) by becoming a Junk Filter patron! https://www.patreon.com/posts/110-michael-mann-73896455 Veteran boom operator Sean Armstrong (Hannibal, Star Trek: Discovery) returns to the podcast for the latest episode on our series on the films of Michael Mann, with the one film he prefers not to discuss, his second feature, 1983’s supernatural horror thriller The Keep. Paramount took control of the production as the costs and the running time skyrocketed, issues compounded by the sudden death of the visual effects designer (who hadn’t told anyone what he had in mind), and after reshoots the film was dumped into cinemas at Christmas, heavily butchered by the studio, and confusing to audiences. Sean and I discuss what Mann had in mind, the amazing anachronistic synth score by Tangerine Dream, and the pleasures that can be found in considering a damaged work of art, one Mann will likely never revisit and restore to his intentions. There are additional Michael Mann episodes (on Heat and Thief) available now on the Junk Filter Patreon feed, as well as dozens of bonus shows. Patrons help to make Junk Filter possible. You can subscribe at patreon.com/junkfilter Follow Sean Armstrong on Twitter. Trailer for The Keep (Michael Mann, 1983)
Oct 28
5 min
109: Blob ’88 (with Meg Shields)
The writer Meg Shields (Film School Rejects) returns to the show for a look at one of the highlights of Criterion Channel’s lineup of 80s Horror, Chuck Russell’s 1988 remake of the fifties cult classic The Blob. Not as celebrated as two other eighties Body Horror remakes of fifties sci-fi (Carpenter’s The Thing and Cronenberg’s The Fly), The Blob is ripe for rediscovery with it’s incredible use of practical special effects and miniatures to tell the tale of a goopy pink organism that terrorizes a small ski town in California which is revealed not to be an alien creature but in fact a secret biological weapon on the loose when government agents seize control of the area in an attempt to contain it. But a pair of plucky local teens (Shawnee Smith and Kevin Dillon) might be mankind’s only hope for survival. The Blob succeeds thanks to a smart screenplay by Chuck Russell and Frank Darabont that leans into the ridiculousness of the premise while showing a gleeful disregard for genre expectations throughout. A box office flop at the time thanks to a bad marketing campaign, sometimes movies like The Blob take a long time to find an audience. Plus: Meg recommends some other highlights of Criterion’s well-chosen lineup of eighties horror offerings. Sign up for the Junk Filter Patreon to support the show directly and to access dozens of bonus episodes! https://www.patreon.com/junkfilter Follow Meg Shields on Twitter. “Slime and Space Dust: How They Built The Blob”, by Meg Shields, for Film School Rejects, August 19, 2020 Theme from The Blob by “The Five Blobs” (written by a young Burt Bacharach, 1958) Trailer for Beware! The Blob (Larry Hagman, 1972) Trailer for The Blob (Chuck Russell, 1988) Trailer for Junglee (Chuck Russell, 2019)
Oct 24
1 hr 8 min
TEASER - 108: Holly Hunter (with Ursula Lawrence)
Access this entire 81 minute episode (and additional monthly bonus episodes) by becoming a Junk Filter patron: https://www.patreon.com/posts/108-holly-hunter-73420058 Comedy writer Ursula Lawrence (Drunk History, Adam Ruins Everything) returns to the pod for a show about the great actor Holly Hunter, with a look at the two classic movies she made to launch her big-screen career in 1987, Raising Arizona and Broadcast News, as well as one of her best performances in Michael Ritchie’s 1993 small-screen satire for HBO, The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom. Along the way we discuss why Nicolas Cage only worked once with the Coen Bros, how Broadcast News is just as prescient about the future of news media as Network was, our shared love of Albert Brooks, and we marvel at the incredible Emmy-winning performance Hunter gives as Wanda Holloway in Cheerleader-Murdering Mom, a postmodern comedy about true crime and tabloid culture more people should know about. Patrons of the Junk Filter podcast can access additional exclusive episodes every month: some of our notable previous guests include Jared Yates Sexton, David Roth, Will Sloan, Bryan Quinby and Sooz Kempner. More to come! Sign up at https://www.patreon.com/junkfilter Follow Ursula Lawrence on Twitter. Trailer for Raising Arizona (Joel Coen, 1987) Trailer for Broadcast News (James L. Brooks, 1987) The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom (Michael Ritchie, 1993) is currently available to watch for free on YouTube (but the last 15 minutes of the film are heavily pixelated)
Oct 17
3 min
107: Hair Metal (with Elana Levin)
Few genres of music are as critically maligned as the Hair Metal genre, also known as Glam Metal, a term invented to distinguish “Legitimate" Heavy Metal from the poppier and more ridiculous guitar rock performed by men with big hair who wore “feminine” makeup and accessories and performed power ballads. The music writer and podcaster Elana Levin joins the show from Brooklyn to discuss the lineage of Hair Metal, how it functions as camp, the importance of pop music as an influence on the sound, the controversial content that earned the wrath of the censorious PMRC in the eighties, and spotlight some of the best bands and songs from the era that deserve more attention (Cinderella, Ratt, Kix and Faster Pussycat.) And we explore how the sound of eighties Hair Metal influenced adult contemporary and country music in the nineties. Sign up for the Junk Filter Patreon to support the show directly and access dozens of bonus episodes! https://www.patreon.com/junkfilter Follow Elana Levin on Twitter and check out their podcasts Graphic Policy Radio and Deep Space Dive! Elana’s essay “Notes on Camp: David Lee Roth” Elana’s appearance on the Is It Camp? podcast to talk about David Lee Roth and Van Halen "There’s No Wrong Time To Rock: A Peacemaker-Inspired Playlist" by Elana Levin for Women Write About Comics Cinderella’s local commercial for Pat’s Chili Dogs, 1983 Kix - Cool Kids, 1983 Ratt - Round and Round, 1984 Motley Crüe - Too Young To Fall In Love, 1984
Oct 10
1 hr 29 min
106: Michael Mann: The Insider (with James Slaymaker)
James Slaymaker, a film writer and the author of Time is Luck: The Cinema of Michael Mann returns to the show from Southampton, England to discuss one of Mann’s finest films, 1999’s The Insider. One of the great films about journalism, The Insider is based on the true story of Dr. Jeffrey Wigand, a former tobacco company vice president who dares to go on the record about Big Tobacco and the product tampering that posed a public health risk. Wigand agrees to appear on 60 Minutes thanks to their tenacious producer Lowell Bergman. But in a shocking turn of events, CBS tampers with the story; fearing a massive lawsuit from Brown & Williamson for “tortious interference” that could destroy the network, they force a sanitized version on the air, putting Wigand in further jeopardy when a smear campaign is concocted by B&W to further discredit and destroy him. Critics loved the film but it was beset by media controversy upon release and never found an audience. We talk about The Insider as one of Mann’s most radical works, a big budget drama (released by Disney!) about corporate malfeasance and heroic individuals fighting against overwhelming systems. Along the way we discuss the fantastic performances, Mann’s visual approach that borders on abstract expressionism, pointing the way to his 21st century digital filmwork, and why this film is a Dudes Rock classic. There are additional Michael Mann episodes (on Heat and Thief) available now on the Junk Filter Patreon feed, as well as dozens of bonus shows. Patrons help to make Junk Filter possible. You can subscribe at patreon.com/junkfilter Follow James Slaymaker on Twitter. James’ book Time is Luck, The Cinema of Michael Mann, is now available in paperback and Kindle. The full version of Jeffrey Wigand’s interview with 60 Minutes, aired February 4, 1996 “Jeffrey Wigand: The Man Who Knew Too Much” - the Vanity Fair article by Marie Brenner that The Insider was adapted from, May 1996 Trailer for The Insider (Mann, 1999)
Sep 27
1 hr 20 min
TEASER - 105: Sorcerer & The Wages of Fear (with Peter Fishbeast)
Access this entire 81 minute episode (and additional monthly bonus episodes) by becoming a Junk Filter patron: https://www.patreon.com/posts/72332422 Filmmaker Peter Fishbeast returns to the podcast from Belper, England to discuss the great director William Friedkin and his 1977 thriller Sorcerer. Hot off two of the biggest hits of the seventies (The French Connection and The Exorcist), Friedkin decided to do his own version of one of the most acclaimed international films of all time, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s The Wages of Fear, the tale of four desperate fugitives who are paid by an avaricious oil company to drive trucks full of nitroglycerine hundreds of miles to put out a raging fire at their refinery. It was an expensive and troubled production and had the bad timing of opening the same weekend that Star Wars was released widely across North America, heralding a cultural sea change in Hollywood that swept up his fellow auteurs in the New American Cinema of the seventies. Peter and I compare Sorcerer and The Wages of Fear, the two different ways these films criticize U.S. imperialism, and how Friedkin’s misbegotten film eventually got a proper restoration in the 2010s and found a new audience. We also discuss the notorious international cut of Sorcerer, re-titled Wages of Fear and heavily tampered with by the worldwide distributor against the director’s wishes. Plus: Peter tells us about the mood in the UK in the wake of the passing of Her Majesty. Patrons of the Junk Filter podcast can access additional exclusive episodes every month: some of our notable previous guests include Jared Yates Sexton, David Roth, Will Sloan, Bryan Quinby and Sooz Kempner. More to come! Sign up at https://www.patreon.com/junkfilter Follow Peter Fishbeast on Twitter and visit his website. Trailer for Le Salaire de la peur (Clouzot, 1953) Trailer for Sorcerer (Friedkin, 1977)
Sep 22
4 min
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