Monday, November 29, 2010

F These Movies in Which John Cusack Collects a Paycheck

John Cusack is unassailably awesome, and an actor of unusual integrity -- that is, when he's not appearing in shitty movies for the purposes of making it rain. Let's f those movies. Dolla dolla bills, y'all.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksf'ing #7: Ten Movies for Which Patrick is Thankful

It's November, and that can mean only one thing at F This Movie! -- it's time to celebrate the holiday of Thanksf'ing. Throughout the month, all of the F This Movie! crew will be sharing the movies for which they are thankful. Because the Mayflower.

The final Thanksf'ing list comes from Patrick:


1. Bird on a Wire (1990) - The first movie I ever got to go see by myself. When I was 13, my mom finally let me walk to the second-run movie theater down the street and see this alone on a Saturday afternoon, beginning a habit that would last me my whole life. From then on, every Saturday was spent at the movies, where I could get one admission, a Cherry Coke and a box of Sprees for under $4. It didn't matter what the movie was; as long as I could get in (read: it wasn't rated R), I was there. I saw a lot of terrible films that way, but I didn't care. I was at the movies. And all because my mom let me go see an utterly forgettable Mel Gibson/Goldie Hawn vehicle. Thanks, mum.

2. There's Something About Mary (1998) - Not just my favorite movie of 1998 (suck it, Shakespeare in Love and Saving Private Sticky Bombs), but one of the best romantic comedies of the last 20 years -- a familiar story told with tremendous originality and incredible comic momentum. Plus, the tale of a geeky guy who eventually finds love with his beautiful, impossibly-out-of-his-league best friend is a lot like my own story with my wife -- only with way more cum-in-the-hair jokes -- and is, at least, partially responsible for us getting together. That's a lot to be thankful for.

3. Matinee (1993) - Sometimes, it feels like a filmmaker is looking inside your head and making movies just for you. Joe Dante does that a lot for me, but never more than in Matinee. All of my favorite movies are ones with which I have a deeply personal relationship, and few movies are more personal or dear to me than this. Also, MANT.

4. Phantom of the Paradise (1974) - Brian DePalma is one of my favorite directors, and though he's made better movies (they were called Blow Out), none of them make me as happy as this one. He was doing genre mash-ups before they were cool. Plus, it's got great songs by Paul Williams and Jessica Harper doing the Jessica Harper dance.

5. Star Trek (2009) - For turning me into a huge Star Trek nerd.

6. The Wizard of Oz (1939) - The film that taught me that some movies are special events, worth waiting an entire year for and capable of bringing everyone together; we may not have been in the same room or even the same house, but everyone watched The Wizard of Oz when it used to air only once a year on CBS. Not just one of the best movies ever made, but one of the best things ever made, affecting me the same today as it did when I was six. Every aspect of it is perfect.

7. Beauty and the Beast (La belle et la bĂȘte) (1946) - A person's favorite movies can tell you a lot about him or her, and my favorite movies -- the ones that are the most personal to me -- paint a pretty clear picture of who I am. It's easy to look at La belle et la bĂȘte (if you'll pardon my douche) as an early incarnation of a lot of the movies on this list; alongside The Wizard of Oz, Jean Cocteau's gorgeous and bitterly funny fairy tale is pretty much the template for the kinds of fantastic, imaginative movies I would come to love throughout my life. It is both completely magical (if you'll pardon my barf) and incredibly subversive. Kind of like Mrs. Doubtfire.

8. Avatar (2009) - For keeping me humble.

9. The Princess Bride (1987) - One of a few movies that taught me not to judge a book by its cover (if you'll pardon my trite-and-overused-expression-when-really-I-mean-not-judge-a-movie-by-its-title-or-poster-or-ad-campaign). I didn't have any interest in The Princess Bride in 1987, but it was playing down the street from my house and was rated PG so I went (see: Bird on a Wire; in those days, I could walk to the theater with a friend). It immediately became one of my favorite movies (it no longer is, though I still think it's great) and made me thankful that I had taken a chance on it. See also: Ghost, The Accidental Tourist, Shut Up and Sing, Romancing the Stone

10. Joe Versus the Volcano (1990) - I recently came across an internet forum discussion about this movie, and everyone participating was either dismissing it outright or saying that the few parts that worked couldn't stop it from being altogether forgettable. All of those people are totally fucking wrong. This is a beautiful, original, heartfelt movie that isn't ashamed to celebrate being a movie. There is so much going on here -- so many great characters and performances and poetry in both the dialogue and the visuals -- that I'm endlessly protective of it and won't suffer foolish criticism lightly. Some movies are special because we take ownership over them. I don't mind that people don't like Joe Versus the Volcano (even though they're stupid and wrong), because that just leaves more for me. I love this movie.

Got a movie or movies you're thankful for? Email us at fthismoviepodcast(at)gmail.com and share. We'll be reading submissions on the podcast all month long. Happy Thanksf'ing!

Thanksf'ing #6: Five Movies for Which Erika is Thankful

It's November, and that can mean only one thing at F This Movie! -- it's time to celebrate the holiday of Thanksf'ing. Throughout the month, all of the F This Movie! crew will be sharing the movies for which they are thankful. Because the Mayflower.

Today's unnaturally pretty Thanksf'ing list comes from Erika:


1. Wuthering Heights (1939) - My early introductions to film came from my family, and some of the titles were in the classic tradition of “First Movies for Young Children” -- aka Disney films. I’m pretty sure I, like most others, cried during Bambi. Like many other children of the '80s, I graduated to Annie and E.T. But I did not quite fit in with the rest of the elementary school set when it came to the other film I watched weekly: Wuthering Heights (0ther grade-schoolers were not crying at Heathcliff’s sorrow or the heartbreaking way that money and circumstance kept two people in love apart). My mom loved this film, and whenever she suggested a movie to me – even when I was very, very young – I took the suggestion as an important ‘event’ of which I could not miss. This was before buying movies to own was common, so if an important (or fun) movie was going to be on TV, my family was all over it. Or, in front of it. (I still have the TV recording of Grease from when it aired in 1980. Yes, I was a baby. But my mom had the foresight to know that in just a couple years, I’d want to watch it every week.) My mother recorded Wuthering Heights, and I watched that VHS tape repeatedly for nearly twenty years. When I was in college, I bought it on VHS; I’m still waiting for its release on DVD. Or Blu-ray. I’ll take it however I can get it! I still hear the music playing at the ball when Heathcliff enters as a wealthy man; I still hear the whistling wind that brings Cathy’s spirit back to the farmhouse; I still feel the pain as Heathcliff is made a servant because of his social/economic status; I still see the aching in Heathcliff’s eyes as he thinks of Catherine. This movie has never left me.

2. Hairspray (1988) - I liked Adam Shankman’s 2007 remake (I’m not a total snob… I can like more than one version of a story) quite a bit. It was the last film I saw in the theater with my grandmother, Pearl. She loved movies and passed down that love to my mother and to me. My grandma LOVED it, and we had a great time at the theater. For that, Shankman’s film will always hold a special place in my heart. But John Waters’ 1998 film was more than fun to me when I first saw it – it was an introduction to the Civil Rights movement, Beatniks (I really wanted to wear black turtlenecks and read poetry), music history, and The Sixties. Thanks to my Aunt Lori, I got a bootleg copy of this film and watched it repeatedly (Ghostbusters and Can’t Buy Me Love, two of my other childhood favorites, were also on this bootlegged VHS. It was fantastic!) I still remember my mom showing me '60s dance moves and both of my parents explaining to me why so many talented, popular African American music artists ended up penniless at the end of their careers… Did Hairspray influence my passion for equality and fairness?

3. Goodfellas (1990) - See Mike Pomaro’s list. He got it all right. (But I think he forgot to elaborate about the soundtrack…)

4. Boogie Nights (1997) - When I worked at Blockbuster Video (one day, that statement will not make sense), a small number of people refused to rent this film because – NO! – it dealt with some ‘adult’ situations. That’s too bad. Paul Thomas Anderson owes a lot to the directors who inspired him (in 1997, I kept thinking, “Scorsese” when I saw Boogie Nights in the theater), but that’s a good thing, because every choice in the movie is the right one. The story is about so much more than the posters let on, and the performances are more complex than the Academy Awards left us to believe (in the Academy’s defense, 1997 was an strong year for American films). I was entranced and moved by the lives of these characters; their desire to belong and to prove themselves worthy made them relatable and sympathetic. Who knew a story set to the backdrop of the pornography industry could be both heartbreaking and heartwarming? And thanks to Boogie Nights, I had a great Halloween costume one year in college. For one entire day, I never took off my skates.

5. Notting Hill (1999) - My husband and I were just friends when this movie came out. We liked it. Very much. Five years later, we danced to a song from this film at our wedding. We connected over a lot of movies when we were friends. And then when we were dating. They were simply easy conversations. We both loved movies – all kinds of movies – since we were kids, and we loved how we could finish each other’s sentences all the time (even when we weren’t talking about movies!). Is this post getting schmoopy? Are we still talking about movies? Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant sitting on the park bench at the end of the film still makes us squeeze hands a little tighter.

Got a movie or movies you're thankful for? Email us at fthismoviepodcast(at)gmail.com and share. We'll be reading submissions on the podcast all month long. Happy Thanksf'ing!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

F This Movie! - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I

Patrick and Doug are outed as Potterphiles as they talk muggles, mudbloods and Horcruxes while f'ing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, the first installment of the final movie in the Harry Potter series. MAGIC MAGIC MAGIC MAGIC!



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Thanksf'ing #5: Five Movies for Which Alex is Thankful

It's November, and that can mean only one thing at F This Movie! -- it's time to celebrate the holiday of Thanksf'ing. Throughout the month, all of the F This Movie! crew will be sharing the movies for which they are thankful. Because the Mayflower.

Today's entry comes courtesy of Alex:

1. Fargo (1996) - There's not one thing about the Coen brothers' magnum opus of Midwestern malfeasance that doesn't work for me. I remember seeing this when I was probably too young for the content, but also too young to define what makes a movie really "work." I know that it's flawlessly written, directed, photographed and acted, but when I was just a wee one, I remember coming away from Fargo thinking, "Well, that just really worked."

2. Inglourious Basterds (2009) - While I enjoyed Death Proof a lot (more than most, even), I left it thinking that Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction magic was a once-in-a-career type of spark. It's my firm belief that the discovery of Christoph Waltz propelled this movie to the heights it achieved. It's also the best work of Brad Pitt's career and I can scarcely recall a movie that had me so gleefully invested in the interest of both the "good" and the "bad" guys simultaneously the way Inglourious Basterds does.

3. Hoop Dreams (1994) - For a deliberately paced, meditative documentary that nearly touches the three-hour mark, Steve James' documentary remains relentlessly rewatchable for its at-once heartbreaking and soaring take on the American dream played out on basketball courts from Cabrini green to affluent private high schools.

4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) - The movie that served as a comforting shoulder upon which a whole new generation of sad single people could cry. That sort of sounds like an insult, but the fact of the matter is that Michel Gondry's pitch-perfect bittersweet valentine took the lovable rom-com, a genre that had been summarily drawn and quartered in the early 2000s, and turned it completely on its head, delivering one of the most original love stories ever to grace the screen.

5. Team America: World Police (2004) - Mostly because of this. Also because I do believe it to be one of the most patriotic films released in the past 20 years. Seriously. Further deepening that sentiment is the fact that I can't help but swell with pride when I contemplate the notion that I live in a country where a film about marionettes who fuck and kill each other whilst simultaneously lampooning elite Bush-era conservativism and elite Hollywood liberal douches gets a wide release. America? Fuck yeah.

Got a movie or movies you're thankful for? Email us at fthismoviepodcast(at)gmail.com and share. We'll be reading submissions on the podcast all month long. Happy Thanksf'ing!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

F This Movie! - Minority Report

From Dr. Who to Gamer to the works of Philip K. Dick, Patrick and Mike's sci-fi-heavy f'ing of the 2002 Steven Spielberg movie Minority Report is a precrime against humanity.



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Also discussed this episode: Gamer (2009)

Thanksf'ing #4: Five Movies for Which Mark Ahn is Thankful

It's November, and that can mean only one thing at F This Movie! -- it's time to celebrate the holiday of Thanksf'ing. Throughout the month, all of the F This Movie! crew will be sharing the movies for which they are thankful. Because the Mayflower.

Next up for Thanksf'ing is a list from Mark Ahn:


1. Charade - A basketful of awesome elements I never thought would combine: Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Stanley Donen directing, Peter Stone's writing, wit, mystery, suspense, Paris. I don't think I quite appreciated "older" films until I came across this one, and it opened up an entire universe of film that I had never considered watching. With a $100 Blockbuster gift card, I decided to try and conquer it. Charade is also memorable in my own life as the movie with which I browbeat a department chair during an interview, after he mentioned that he taught film. "Oh, have you seen Charade?" I asked. "No, never heard of it." Rant on. Apparently, I love this film enough to not accept potential employment. Some things, like stupidity, are not negotiable.

2. Hero - Zhang Yimou's beautifully textured, multiple perspective showpiece captured my attention, despite the fact that I watched it first without English subtitles, which made things...complicated. I was thankful that the weight of the scale they depicted felt more real than in other epics of the same magnitude. A cloud of arrows never looked so menacing, nor did swordplay ever look so graceful, nor the power of a word so uniquely presented.

3. Hard Boiled - You ever think that 10,000 bullets would be enough for one 15-minute gunfight? I never thought so either, until three guys jumped around in a tiny room shooting at each other from impossible angles. I miss the John Woo who still had his fastball, because he created the best, fluid, kinetic gun-fu that ever unloaded a clip in slow motion. It's the John Woo who had characters solve difficult problems with wit, style and guts, before everything became a messy charicature covered in doves flying out of fire. That's right; fire doves.

4. Fight Club - The work that made David Fincher and Chuck Pahlaniuk the Ayn Rands of their generation, because, much like The Fountainhead, so many people who watch or read Fight Club swear to its veracity, probably because so few of who watched (and enjoyed) it could ever act out the freedom they saw on screen. There are certainly other films that are more controversial, or grittier, or more thoughtfully postmodern (or whatever), but I don't think I find those as rewatchable.

5. Memento - The most impressive thing about this Christopher Nolan movie is that it taught me, film lover but technical novice, about how the structure of the medium could manipulate audience perception. Either I was too stupid to notice other films which had done it before, or I needed to see an extreme example, like the anterograde amnesia of the main character, to understand it. It was another upshift in my love of suspense movies, like a twist to the twist.

Got a movie or movies you're thankful for? Email us at fthismoviepodcast(at)gmail.com and share. We'll be reading submissions on the podcast all month long. Happy Thanksf'ing!

Monday, November 15, 2010

F This Movie! - Pearl Harbor

You know, 2001's Pearl Harbor hit us with a sledgehammer. Patrick and Doug's f'ing, even if it makes it through, will only be a pinprick...but it will be straight through Michael Bay's heart.



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Also discussed this episode: Iron Giant (1999), Marie Antoinette (2006), How the West Was Won (1962), Morning Glory (2010), Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thanksf'ing #3: Five Movies for Which Doug is Thankful

It's November, and that can mean only one thing at F This Movie! -- it's time to celebrate the holiday of Thanksf'ing. Throughout the month, all of the F This Movie! crew will be sharing the movies for which they are thankful. Because the Mayflower.

Today's entry comes courtesy of Doug:

1. It's a Wonderful Life (1946) - Because who doesn't love Christmas? And Jimmy Stewart? Seriously, if you don't love Jimmy Stewart, you need to go trip and fall. Donna Reed's not all that bad to look at, either, if you catch my boner. My family has watched this movie every Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember. Simply put, it's the ultimate feel-good holiday film (that also gets pretty dark at times), as if that means anything. To me, it does. "Happy New Year to you ... in jail!"

2. Starship Troopers (1997) - This movie kicks butt, and you know it. None of the actors in it (who all appeared in Melrose Place in the 1990s, no?) seem to know exactly what kind of movie they're making, with the hilarious exception of Doogie Howser M.D. And that means director Paul Verhoeven is able to have a LOT of fun at their expense. Flip six three hole, Klendathu, Gestapo bug experimentation ... need I say more? The effects still look awesome today. "Come on you apes! You want to live forever?!"

3. The Blues Brothers (1980) - I love Chicago, and so does this movie. The best SNL spinoff movie (followed closely by Superstar [1999]), featuring two comedians at the top of their game. Excellent music (and dance numbers), with a laundry list of celebrity cameos. The director's cut is unnecessary (do we really care how the car gets its "magic" powers?), and Blues Brothers 2000 (1998) needs to abort itself, but the original still rules. My brother and I used to quote the entire movie on family road trips to Lake Wazzapamani. "Fix the cigarette lighter."

4. Night of the Living Dead (1968) - The only movie I've ever watched and completely forgotten where I was (the answer: trapped inside the body of an awkward 16-year-old boy). I was introduced to this movie during a horror unit in high school, and it changed my life. Super simple story, effective monsters, surprising hero and an annoying woman who just won't shut up. "We're them; they're us." Thanks, remake -- we get it.

5. The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977) - First time I saw boobs in a movie. And boy, did I. According to my sister, when the jugs in question appeared on screen (pressed against a shower door, mind you [boy-oy-oy-oing!]), I ran over to the TV and kissed the glass. Of course, I have no recollection of this. I do, however, remember being punished afterward. Thanks Ali (narc). Oh, and, by the way -- the movie's a giant piece of pie (garbage pie). Fun fact: the second time I saw boobs was in Vacation (1983). Thank you, pre-plastic-surgery Beverly D'Angelo.

Got a movie or movies you're thankful for? Email us at fthismoviepodcast(at)gmail.com and share. We'll be reading submissions on the podcast all month long. Happy Thanksf'ing!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thanksf'ing #2: Five Movies for Which Mike is Thankful

It's November, and that can mean only one thing at F This Movie! -- it's time to celebrate the holiday of Thanksf'ing. Throughout the month, all of the F This Movie! crew will be sharing the movies for which they are thankful. Because the Mayflower.

Today's installment comes courtesy of Mike Pomaro:

1. Goodfellas (1990) - No movie means more to me then Goodfellas. Seeing it for the first time was literally a life-changing experience. For the first 13 years of my life, I watched a lot of movies. It was a wonderful hobby. But when my parents rented Goodfellas in 1991 (yes, I know, I was way too young to watch Goodfellas), it shook my world. It was the first time I noticed things like camera movement, music, editing, lighting – all the things a director uses to tell his or her story. As soon as Goodfellas ended, I knew I was changed: I went from being a kid that watched whatever was on at the time, or whatever his parents dragged him to, to someone that sought movies and directors and writers out. Goodfellas is the reason I went to film school. Goodfellas is the reason I stayed up late at night editing short films on 16mm. Goodfellas is the reason I’ve seen the films of Kurosawa and Fellini and Powell and Kubrick. Goodfellas broke a seal in my life, and it's never been the same.

2. The Empire Strikes Back (1980) - Like many nerds, the original Star Wars trilogy means the world to me. The Empire Strikes Back was my favorite as kid and remains so today. I’m thankful for Star Wars for a number of reasons, the biggest being that it's a common thread in many of my relationships. My friends and I have bonded over the franchise from the first time we met. Some of the fondest memories I have (remember, I’m a huge nerd) are Star Wars related. Like waiting outside of a local Toys “R” Us for seven hours in anticipation of the Episode I figures being released at midnight. Or watching my friend Charlie win Star Wars Trivial Pursuit in one turn. ONE TURN. Or hearing my beautiful wife quote the movies and watching her excitedly purchase her own Yoda backpack. We don’t all agree on politics or religion or countless other issues, but the one common ground we all share is Star Wars.

3. Swingers (1996) - My old girlfriend broke my heart at the end of 1997. Ripped it out, stomped on it, pissed on it, then stomped on it a little more. A week or two after she ate my soul, I found myself in an uncomfortable position: It was a Friday night and my friends all had plans that didn’t involve me. I decided to drown my sorrows in cinema, in the hopes that I would stop crying long enough to actually watch a movie through my foggy, tear-filled glasses. Swingers was about to start. I hadn’t seen it, and thought I could coast through a pointless movie without having to exercise any part of my brain. What I got was the perfect movie at the right time in my life. It’s a simple story of boy loses girl, whines about it for 2 hours, before finding out that his life will go on and there are other fish in the sea. As corny as it sounds, it restored some hope in me, if only for that night, and it stands alone as a shining example for me that sometimes movies are the best medicine.

4. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) - This is easily the worst movie on the list, but I’m extremely grateful it entered my life. I was 10 or 11 years old at the time. My sister had rented it one Friday night with her boyfriend. The next night I had a few friends over for a sleepover. When my family went to bed, we threw in Nightmare 3 (thank you, sis, for forgetting to return it!) and my love of horror films was born. From that point on, I tried my hardest to watch any horror when and where I could. I’d beg my sister to rent them, especially the Freddy movies, and “forget” to return them. This way I could watch them without my mom or dad finding out. They weren’t fans. And don’t think I forgot about you “accidentally” throwing out my copies of Fangoria, mom. Not cool.

5. Private Parts (1997) In 1996 and 1997, I was listening to a local Chicago DJ named Mancow. I thought he was the funniest/craziest thing I’d heard. I wasn’t a smart kid. Then, in my freshman year of college, my friend Adam (another Mancow disciple) and I rented Private Parts. We didn’t like Howard Stern at the time (mainly because Mancow told us not to), but we’d heard the movie was pretty good and gave it a shot. Thank God we did. We found in Howard Stern, through Private Parts, what we thought we had found in Mancow: Stern was, and is, a brilliant satirist, amazing interviewer and the ultimate entertainer. I’m proud to say that I started listening to Stern right after seeing Private Parts and I haven’t looked back. He and his show have been a big and important part of my life for over ten years, and I owe it all to Private Parts.

Got a movie or movies you're thankful for? Email us at fthismoviepodcast(at)gmail.com and share. We'll be reading submissions on the podcast all month long. Happy Thanksf'ing!

Thanksf'ing #1: Five Movies for Which JB is Thankful

It's November, and that can mean only one thing at F This Movie! -- it's time to celebrate the holiday of Thanksf'ing. Throughout the month, all of the F This Movie! crew will be sharing the movies for which they are thankful. Because the Mayflower.

First up is JB:

1. Singing in the Rain (1952) - Still one of the hap-ha-happiest films ever made; witness that the worst punishment meted out to the "villian" of the piece is that she is laughed at in public. Ouch. Tremendous script. Zippy dialogue. Dancing with no equal. Donald O'Connor singing "Make 'Em Laugh." Great songs from the Freed/Brown catalog. A film that suggests life can be an adventure and romantic love is still possible. Some of my students reject the film on this basis, like a bad kidney.

2. The Graduate (1967) - First semester of sixth grade I brought home the worst report card of my admittedly brief academic career. Mom and Dad were none too happy. They went out to dinner; I watched The Graduate on the CBS Wednesday Night Movie. It made me feel a lot better. Great performances. Endlessly quotable dialogue. ("Oh, no. It's fully baked.") A peak into young adulthood for a boy ready to grow up.

3. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) - Delirious sequel to one of the foundation Universal horror movies-- funny and scary and twisted and profound. This film takes horror cliches and bounces them on their ears. Karloff was never better. Thesiger chews the scenery. Elsa Lanchester as the Bride is still the most iconic female monster in history. . . and sexy.

4. 12 Angry Men (1957) - Still my favorite drama. . . I sometimes wish Turner Classic Movies would not show it so much. Whenever it is on, I drop whatever I am doing to watch it again. Every actor is at the peak of his game. It is probably one of the cleverest police procedurals to not feature a single detective. A profoundly democratic and American film, it suggests that we can get along and work things out, despite our many differences.

5. Anything By Buster Keaton - Love for Keaton is not quite as universal as that for Charlie Chaplin. Buster is an acquired taste, like dry white wine. No other silent comedian makes me laugh like Keaton does. . . or gasp. Thinking about Keaton, so many scenes and shots come to mind: grabbing a moving car and letting it lift him into the air in Cops, the entire front of a house falling around him in Steamboat Bill, Jr, the climactic train wreck in The General. The physics of amazement.

Got a movie or movies you're thankful for? Email us at fthismoviepodcast(at)gmail.com and share. We'll be reading submissions on the podcast all month long. Happy Thanksf'ing!