Monday, March 11, 2013

F This Movie! - Oz the Great and Powerful

Pay no attention to the Patrick and Adam Riske behind the curtain.

Download this episode here. (31.1 MB)

Email F This Movie! at fthismoviepodcast(at)

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Also discussed this episode: 21 and Over (2013); Dead Man Down (2013); In the Mouth of Madness (1994); Soylent Green (1973); Cyborg: Director's Cut (1989); Road to Hell (2012); Pitch Perfect (2012)


  1. I just finished listening to the podcast, and I think I am probably just going to end up regurgitating several of the things you guys already said, but here are some thoughts I had on the movie

    My favorite parts of Oz The Great and Powerful are those where the movie is being funny, particularly when the monkey is making jokes. I personally found him rather humorous, and if I had to pick a favorite character, he would be it. I think the movie's sense of humor for the parts where it has a sense of humor, and the look of the movie, which is very beautiful at times, are its biggest strengths.

    On a less positive note, I really hated the casting of Mila Kunis. Thinking about it, I probably hate all the casting in general, but Mila Kunis was just flat out not good or at all right for that part, so maybe that made the other characters more tolerable to me by comparison.

    James Franco I thought was good enough, but I am not genereally a James Franco fan, and interestingly enough, I am a big Robert Downey Jr. fan most of the time, so I would be way interested to see THAT movie.

    I, too, noticed what seemed like an attempt to oversexualize the witch to a strange degree. If it weren't bad enough that Mila Kunis wasn't right for that character as an actress, I also did not think that sort of look fit the character at all as we would come to know her in The Wizard of Oz.

    The scene at the end where he was handing out the various "rewards" to the different characters was also kind of lame, and just an exmple of how this doesn't even come close to equaling The Wizard of Oz in its payoff.

    As a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, I think this movie failed miserably in several ways. The material that comes after Oz The Great and Powerful provides impossibly high standards to match, and to that end this movie probably would have been better off not being made. That being said, I still enjoyed elements of it, mostly the humor.

    Against my better judgement, I still want to see Wicked made into a movie. I don't know when or if it will ever happen, but I think there is potential there.

    1. The "rewards" scene is mind-boggling to me. Another example is how the Tinker and the Herald are supposed to be China Doll's family even though I can't recall them EVER TALKING TO HER! I bet when they cut away she asked all of her new family if they wanted to go to Olive Garden and they were like 'eh, maybe another time.' And China Doll is standing there saying 'but when we're there we're family!'

  2. It's always vindicating when your podcast mirrors my own feelings for a movie. It seems like all my friends disagree with me on this movie! Given its box office take, it's the biggest movie of 2013 so far and will probably end up being very profitable. I never want to hate on a movie, especially when other people are enjoying it, but as far as being soulless and overly long this is one of the more egregious examples.

    1. I love when my opinion is different than all of my friends! It makes me feel like I'm on to something with a movie. Although, it is pretty awful when a movie is universally loved and you don't like it. It makes me jealous that I can't share that experience. Good news though Fred, lots of people aren't digging Oz. You're not alone.

  3. Welcome to the rotation, Dr. Riske. Just don't forget the #1 rule of 'F This Movie' (Do Not Upstage Patrick, EVAH!!, or knife-wielding flying monkeys descend from the Chicago skies and drop you on your head at O'Hare during rush hour) and you'll be fine. ;-P And hey, you're already one podcast ahead of Jason from his one guest shot in the "American Pie" podcast (I loved that guy! :-)).

    I had no intention or desire to see the new "Oz" in theaters but almost stopped the podcast before spoilers because I know someone that's a big Mila Kunis fan that I might go see the movie with later on (funny that Mila Kunis didn't make the 'LABELS' podcast listing even though she's talked about more than any other actor in the film). Then I realized that, if I end up seeing "Oz," it would be to please someone else and not myself so I ended up listening to the whole thing. You basically cover my thoughts/feels exactly, except I saved myself 14 bucks and the aggravation of witnessing the legacy of "Oz" shat on by Sam Raimi trying to erase the still-potent Aqua Velva-like stench of "Spider-Man 3" around him. From the opening weekend's box office numbers it looks like Sam did right for him, but at what cost to the franchise's legacy?

    Funny that only in recent years have I seen "The Wizard of Oz" but I feel protective-enough of it as a cinematic treasure that the thought of a CG-enhanced prequel is simply off-limits for me to even think about seeing on my own. There might be good movies that get lost in the current cavalcade of CG-enhanced fantasy epics that put a twist on classic fairy tales (I really want to give "Snow White and the Huntsman" a chance based entirely on Patrick's alone-in-the-wilderness support for it, but I have to be in the mood for it to give the flick a fighting chance) but it's curious how something like "Oz" thrives while the seemingly-identical "Jack the Giant Slayer" (also a high-concept reimagining) absolutely bombs. Both flicks came out a week apart and were pushed real hard by their respective studios. Yet the collective gravitated toward one and rejected the other even though from a distance (to me anyway) both are pretty much the same movie. WTF?!?!

    My new-to-me movies:

    'This is a fictional review based on an actual movie' Samuel Fuller's THE BIG RED ONE: THE RECONSTRUCTION (1980/2004) on DVD.

    Because a lunkhead's lunkhead has to eat, Lon Chaney earns a paycheck in Wallace Worsley's THE ACE OF HEARTS (1921) on TCM-HD.

    The 'Johnny English' of his era, Maxwell 'Agent 86' Smart, takes on KAOS and dated 80's fashion trends in THE NUDE BOMB (1980) on HBO Family-HD.

    1. Oh, man, I did it again! :-(

    2. "Jack the Giant Slayer" got off the wrong track by delays, having it's release push back a year, a poorly received first trailer, and an identity crisis to most people who couldn't decide if it was appropriate for their kids and those who thought it looked too kiddy. "Oz", on the other hand, had a much easier production and a built-in audience.

    3. Guess so, the inversely-proportioned curves for both movies at the box office bears this out. To me all these fantasy CG-enhanced movies are all one big, long, uninterrupted movie. But I guess just familiarity with the "Oz" brand from the books and perpetually-shown 1939 movies gave Sam Raimi's flick an edge I frankly didn't know it had. I was fully expecting "Oz" to do better than "Jack" but not in the vecinity of "Alice in Wonderland 3D" coin. I mean, just WOW! :-(

    4. J.M. O'Hare doesn't have a rush hour. Make sure you clear that up with the monkeys before they drop me off at the airport.

    5. Isn't O'Hare like the first or second busiest US airport in the States? I figure a place like that would be a 24/7 rush hour madhouse, but what do I know? I live in a town that has three airports nearby to ease the load, so... ;-)

    6. J.M. You should have said you wanted to drop me on the expressway outside of O'Hare. And you can't wink smiley face after saying you want monkeys to stab me and/or drop me on my head. I'm not mad at you but pick a lane, know what I'm saying.

    7. You got me wrong doc. You didn't upstage Patrick, you complemented him (which is the best the regular contributors can hope to do against such a rising talented podcasting behemoth... no joke, listen to the "Prometheus" podcast for proof), hence the monkeys (who are filing an ACLU lawsuit against Disney for portraying them as banana-liking savages) were never in any danger of coming out of their barrels to get you.
      See? I was complementing you all along. ;-P ;-) ;-)

  4. I really have no desire to comment on Oz but i will say the podcast was great!!! More Adam Riske please!!

    But i would like to comment on 'Streets of Fire', which i havent seen but now will due to patrick's proclaiming of it as one of his favorite movies. But i imdb'd it and watched the trailer. And, Patrick, it seems like that movie is scratching your 'Phantom of the Paradise' itch, is it not? Cause the movie looks crazy, like bat-shit crazy. It has rock n roll mixed with guns and motorcycles and explosions and dystopian futures. It reminds me of Philip Kaufman's 'The Wanderers'.

    Patrick/Adam, have you ever seen 'The Wanderers'??? If not, watch it, it's a gang movie (not unlike 'The Warriors') about that time in the U.S. before Vietnam and the J.F.K assassination when we were still "innocent" (not unlike 'American Graffiti) but by the end it turns into a football/sports movie. It's crazy and immediately became one of my favorite movies. So just wondering if you guy's have seen it. Again, if not, watch it!!!!

    1. Thanks Anonymous! I have not yet seen The Wanderers. I just watched the trailer and it looks f-ing amazing!

    2. That's a very astute observation -- Streets of Fire shares the same DNA as Phantom of the Paradise, and it makes sense that I love them both. SoF is more accessible than Phantom, if that helps. I think Streets of Fire is going to show up on Netflix Instant at the start of April.

      It's been YEARS since I saw The Wanderers, but I remember liking it. I sought it out because Quentin Tarantino talked about it in the linear notes to the Pulp Fiction soundtrack (I think?). He said it used "Stand by Me" before Stand by Me (in the scene where Ken Wahl finds out that SPOILERS Kennedy has been shot). His argument was that The Wanderers owns that song.

      I've always been amazed that The Warriors is such a beloved cult movie (I like it) but The Wanderers is totally overlooked.

    3. I actually watched 'Phantom of the Paradise' (because of your favorite movies podcast) and loved it (also watched 'Blow Out' because of one of the podcasts and that's now one of my favorite films), so you saying SoF is more accessible gets me even more jazzed.

      'The Wanderers' is completely overlooked and Philip Kaufman, IMO, is an overlooked filmmaker. 'The Right Stuff' is also great and very watchable (especially at 3 hours and 13 minutes). I havent seen 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being' (which gets the douchiest title award) but i hear it's also very good.

      'The Wanderers does contain the best use of Stand By Me. It comes at the perfect point in the film when all the characters are at their lowest. Come to think of it, the soundtrack rulez ("Z" you ask? Yes, because i'm one of them rebels). You got some Franki Valli and of course The Wanderer by Dion (which, admittedly, is probabaly used one too many times but the song is so great that I cant get enough of it). So yea, Patrick/Adam, peep out 'The Wanderers', it's "f-ing amazing".

      P.S: I'm @MikeOBry on twitter, just putting that, not so you can follow me, but because anonymous sounds creepy and I'm too lazy to sign into google. But thanks for responding!!

    4. Just an FYI -- you can also comment with "Name/URL" (and just leave the URL blank, I think). Also, WE FOLLOW YOU ON TWITTER YOU'RE WELCOME WE ARE BFFs OKAY BYE.

    5. Well look at that, Doug, you most certaintly are correct. "I'm 90 years old so i computer what dont is" But enough of insulting seniors, Doug thanks, really didnt know that.

    6. Also, because you C&P'd your name from (I'm assuming) MS Word, and because Word changes "straight" apostrophes to "smart" (or curved) apostrophes, Blogger interpreted the apostrophe in your last name as junk code, hence the '. THE MORE YOU KNOW.

    7. Haha, thanks.

    8. I saw Unbearable Lightness of Being for the first time a couple of years ago, and it was definitely watchable but I was watching it thinking "I don't know about this..." But then as days went by, I kept thinking about it, and now I think it's pretty great (title aside). I'll bet if I watched it again, it would only be better.

  5. Wait, what's especially wrong with For The Love Of The Game? It's a perfectly acceptable, if a bit schmaltzy, romance/baseball movie.

    1. I totally agree. The only reason I would call it Sam Raimi's worst movie is because there is NO sign of him in it. The movie probably has fewer problems than Spider-Man 3 and even Oz, but at least I can see Raimi in those. If For Love of the Game had been directed by anyone else, it would never be associated with the word "worst." Because it is totally fine.

    2. Well, there is that scene where Costner refers to a baseball bat as his "boomstick."

    3. Ah, I see where you're coming from there, Patrick.

  6. Great podcast guys - Adam, you did great - I had to double-check because I thought you sounded a lot like that Jason guy from the American Pie podcast - apparently there is a Chicago accent...P.S. Chicago - condolences on giving up the 4th Most Populated North American City spot to Toronto (in spite of Patrick and Doug's recent efforts). To be fair I think they did the headcount BEFORE our annual Winter Cull (we use the Seal Hunt to distract the World from our Sick and Elderly Hunt) so it should probably have an asterisk.

    I don't know what to say about this movie other than thanks for saving me the price of a ticket. I'm sure I'll watch it at some point but will definitely hold off until it hits the movie channel.

    Off to catch up on some other columns - this place is just pumping out the content lately!

    1. I know it shouldn't, but I can't tell you how much this new population data upsets me. I AM VERY PETTY.

    2. Awww, sorry to bring up a touchy subject buddy. It looked like Transformers killed at least a couple hundred thousand Chicagogonianites so blame Michael Bay?

    3. But I'm already blaming him for not winning the lottery. HOW MUCH BLAME CAN ONE MAN GET?!

    4. I listened to the American Pie podcast and yes I do sound like Jason. Weird

  7. This might be my favorite comments to a column because it's all 'fuck Oz, I just want to talk about stuff.'

    1. Yeah, I've got a habit of derailing conversations. I think I might have AD--squirrel!

      Fuck THIS Oz was kind of the impression I got from the podcast, right? I watched the original MANY times as a youngster and recently saw it on blu-ray (amazing!) and as wonderful as it is I've never felt the need for more of it, you know? And did anyone really? If it starred Judy Garland and the rest of the original cast maybe, but science owes me a fuckin T-Rex way before a Bert Lahr, you know what I'm saying?

      Which reminds me - how many kids with ADD does it take to screw in a lightbulb?


      Wanna ride bikes?

  8. So, FIRST, Adam, great to hear you on the podcast. You did well, son. So proud...sniff. And you made this officially the most food heavy episode of F This Movie ever. I gained 6 pounds while listening.

    Second, I must confess my initial thought when I saw the movie for this week's episode was "why on earth would they go see that?" I can't say you sufficiently answered that question, but the movie does not sound as bad as I thought it would now that I've heard you guys discuss it. I think for me the idea of continued adventures in Oz seemed wrong for Disney to do and felt very much like a quick attempt to continue the goodwill they felt they had with audiences after Alice in Wonderland made all of the dollars. Plus, it confused me (and you guys too, it sounds like) that THIS was the story they chose to tell when the perfectly sufficient and beloved play Wicked has become an accepted part of that universe and is, in my mind, begging to be adapted to film.

    Given what you guys said about this one, Wicked is a much better story (though not perfect) that plays out over a period of years and has pretty realistic and compelling motivations for the Wicked Witch to end up where she does. Plus, The Wizard of Oz is a musical with some truly breathtaking songs, so it makes sense that any other Oz projects (like The Wiz! should be musicals too. And Wicked, to my memory, doesn't have one foot planted in the real world and another planted in imagination-land. It's all just icing on the cake that is the story we already know.

    Also, I think now I HAVE to see Streets of Fire.

    Great show!

    1. I saw it because I thought Oz The Great and Powerful was about Chris Klein's lacrosse career in American Pie.

  9. Terrific podcast! I am particularly appreciative of the shout-out Adam gave to Soylent Green. That movie is a massive downer, but it features a beautiful performance (his last) by Edward G. Robinson. His last scene with Heston makes me tear up every time.

    And referring to the discussion about Oz...what do you call that strange movie world where every possible demographic is equally pandered to? A demography?

    1. Edward G. Robinson was my favorite part of Soylent Green. I'm woefully behind in his filmography but I really liked him in Double Indemnity as well.

  10. Well done Adam, you are a perfect fit for F This Movie. Very good episode.

    Just a thought about the "Chosen One" trend in movies. While its certainly nothing new I do agree that it is going through a phase of popularity at the moment. It may be related to what is said about Gen Y/the "current" generation, in that they expect to become millionaires for nothing, as in with no effort. This whole idea of being plucked out of obscurity for no reason beyond having that special something that no one can see, that no one really gets, but you know is there and thats why you are a special and unique snowflake, seems to be the catch cry of the Me generation, or more specifically what the Gen X'ers and above say about the Gen Y's and younger (is there a younger, everyone below 25 seems like a child to me).
    Maybe the Chosen One theme/plot resonates with them more than with us.

    Oh, and Fuck Oz....I haven't seen, but Fuck It!

  11. This movie was misconceived as a prequel. If one WERE to make a prequel, one may try to write it backwards. But in this case, the end makes the LEAST amount of sense.


    I saw this in 3D. Let me preface by saying I hated Avatar. I also hate 3d. Last one I saw was Coraline and that gave me a headache. This did not.

    To your point on the brightness level, I didn't get that, so perhaps thats a problem w/ the 3d vs 2d.


    As insane of an assignment as this movie was, no matter what you do you'll be forever in a 74 year old shadow, I still rather enjoyed this movie. Didn't say it was great, or even good for that matter. I enjoyed the experience. Call me a contrarian (no I don't like Aliens, yes I like Alien 3--so I'm THAT guy), but I'll stick my head in the ground & call myself an outlier.

    You compared it to a ride. Thats what it was. an enjoyable ride. That leaves you with little else after you've disembarked. Funny where it was it was supposed to be. Deliberate artificiality in the effects.

    you could go on forever (or about 45 minutes in your case) listing what was wrong. I'd boil it down to 2 things:

    Casting & Interaction with FX.

    The price tag of these effects, came on the shoulders of this casting. So the effects & the casting is the snake eating its own tale taking down the whole movie (well not to me, but almost).


    James Franco. I will say that he is NOT a character actor. Oz isn't a lead part. Its a character part. We needed a modern-day Frank Morgan.

    Leading men are limited. They won't go out on a limb for a part.

    Miscast?! Why yes!!! Franco. oi! But Wililams. Sorry disagree. I thought she & Weiss were the best cast (Braff worked best as a human).

    I thought Kunis was great as the Wicked Green Goblin of the West (her public reveal was just as bad as the Green Goblins first public appearance in Spidey). She overacts just as much as Dafoe did.


    Instead of musical numbers its a CG ride (beating the dead horse of your analogy).

    Its not an equal swtich-out. It a diminished return that makes the film cacophonous, resulting in Oz: The Loud & Long.

    As great as David Bowie's little China Girl was visually, whenever one of the actors tried to pick her up, it doesn't work. She has no weight. The actors are either looking cross-eyed or are cupping air while holding her.

    To the point of being swallowed by the fake background while walking around…makes we think of another recent movie with diminutive characters in a fantasy world. hmmm…

    (didn't I say I enjoyed this?!)

    I liked the FX. Just not when actors were in it.

    Raimi did make interesting choices. When to acknowledge the past, when to diverge.

    Thought the same thing with the over-sexualization of the witches (e.g. Mila Kunis' cleavage -- hmmm…good band name). See also Avengers: Black Widow interrogation of Loki. Head shot on Loki. johanssons butt. hiddleston Head. johanssons butt. & so on & so forth

    what movie were we talking about again?

    Points valid all around. No really! I never said you were A-holes. I agreed with most of what you said, I just come out liking it a tad more than you.

    Now to guess the miscasting of the live action Beauty & the Beast: my money is on Ryan Gosling as both beauty & the Beast.