Thoroughly Modern Millie
Listen to Thoroughly Modern Millie on The Next Reel Film Podcast

"Men say it’s criminal what women’ll do. What they’re forgetting is this is 1922."

By 1967, Julie Andrews was at the top of her game. Since Mary Poppins came out, she’d been in hit after hit, from The Sound of Music to Torn Curtain, so it was surely a thrill for her to jump into another musical – Thoroughly Modern Millie – with George Roy Hill, who had just directed her in Hawaii. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Musicals From the 60s series with Hill’s 1967 film Thoroughly Modern Millie

We talk about why the film works well for us, even though there are elements within that we struggle with. We compare it to the last film we discussed – The Young Girls of Rochefort – which had some similar elements, but which didn’t work nearly as well for us. We look at how well the cast works here, from Andrews to James Fox, from Mary Tyler Moore to Carol Channing, from John Gavin to Pat Morita. We look at what Hill brings to the table with the direction, and how well he works with cinematographer Russell Metty and editor Stuart Gilmore. We chat about the music – both songs from the past and original songs – as well as the original and adapted scores (and try to figure out who actually did what). And we ponder if the racial stereotypes here are better or worse than those in Gone With the Wind. 

It’s a riotously fun film that certainly has issues but is worth checking out. We have a great time talking about it on the show this week. Give it a watch then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

Pete Wright60s Musicals
The Young Girls of Rochefort

"Paris is small for a great passion like yours."

Jacques Demy already had great success with his 1964 musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg when he stepped up to direct The Young Girls of Rochefort. Continuing his same colorful style, Rochefort explodes with pastels and a supersaturated palette, not exactly lining up with the styles preferred by Demy’s French New Wave pals. That being said, he still found ways to subvert the genre so well established by Hollywood. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Musicals From the 60s series with Demy’s 1967 film The Young Girls of Rochefort. 

We talk about the story and why it doesn’t work that well for us, even though the elements of subversion give us a bit more appreciation for what Demy was trying to do here. We chat about the great cast helmed by Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac and how well they do. We specifically discuss the three Americans who somehow found their way into this film – Gene Kelly, George Chakiris and Grover Dale. We look at Demy’s use of color and revel in the way he paints on screen with it. We ponder over the mysterious murder and debate as to why it’s in the film. And we revel in the glorious use of long takes all throughout the film and how the camerawork seems to be as choreographed as the dancing itself.

It’s a film with plenty of charm and dancing and singing and dancing and more and more and more. We struggled a bit with the film but it provided us with an interesting conversation. So check it out then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

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Pete Wright
Mary Poppins

"I feel what’s to happen all happened before."

Anyone who watched 2013’s Saving Mr. Banks knows what a difficult time Walt Disney had getting the rights to P.L. Travers’ “Mary Poppins” novels so he could make the cinematic adaptation. It’s quite a story, but what you don’t get from watching that film is the incredible experience of watching Mary Poppins itself. Sure, at a cursory glance, it’s a very episodic film with seemingly disconnected sequences of the titular character as she nannies the Banks children, Jane and Michael. But digging deeper, there’s quite a bit more there. What it seemed ol’ Uncle Walt did was make a film that had something to say to just about everybody. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off our Musicals From the 60s series with Robert Stevenson’s 1964 hit Mary Poppins. 

We talk about the magic of this film and how our interpretations have evolved as we’ve grown up with it. We look at the casting which is practically perfect in every way, starting right at the top with Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke and going all the way down to Elsa Lanchester as Katie Nana (and beyond). We touch on the fabulous effects scattered all through the film, how Disney was always pushing the envelope with cinematic tricks and how his goal was to fool people constantly where just when they think they figure out how they did it, he does something else to mislead. We chat about the many incredible songs and why they work so well, as well as touching on some of our favorites. Specifically, we look at “Supercalifragilisticexpialodocious” in our Deep Scene Dive and why this silly song about a nonsense word has lasting impact through to the climax. And we ponder the possibilities of an Aliens/_Mary Poppins_ mashup as we struggle to add the movie to our Flickchart.

We have an absolutely delightful time with this film. It’s one for all ages (except for some grumpy Amazon reviewers). Definitely check it out, then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins!

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The Next ReelPete Wright
A Good Day to Die Hard

"Do you know what I hate about the Americans? Everything. Especially cowboys."

With the surprise success of the fourth entry into the “Die Hard” franchise, it was inevitable that the studio would push for yet another film. It took six years, but eventually, they got it made. The script that was developed for the fifth film was the first one developed from an original idea in the franchise and was written by the scribe behind the theatrical adaptation of The A-Team. The director was brought on after making the adaptation of the video game Max Payne. It seems an odd pairing, but clearly, the producers felt they saw something on this team that they felt would bring something new to this franchise. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we conclude our Die Hard series with John Moore’s 2013 film A Good Day to Die Hard. 

We talk about Moore’s history, as well as that of writer Skip Woods, and try to figure out why they were the team brought on to make this film. We look at all of the elements that don’t work for us in this film but largely struggle most with the fact that they make McClane really unlikeable. We chat about Jai Courtney and why we really like him as McClane’s son, even if he wasn’t given a good script to really make his mark with. We also talk about Sebastian Koch, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Yuliya Snigir, Rasha Bukvic and more as we look at what they bring to the table. We rank our favorite Yippee Ki-Yays and our franchise villains. And we dig into what works and what doesn’t in big action sequences like the car chase.

It’s a mess of a film that ruins so much of what’s great in the franchise, even while the filmmakers clearly still throw in references and callbacks as often as they can. We may not have liked it, but we have a great time talking about it. Check it out if you must, but tune in regardless! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

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Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

"I don’t want my pain taken away! I need my pain!"

Leonard Nimoy had directed two Star Trek films so naturally, William Shatner wanted to give it a go. He even had a great concept for a story — the crew of the Enterprise go on a quest to find God. Unfortunately, with a writers strike hitting Hollywood at the time, with an effects company that couldn’t deliver, and with a studio demanding as much humor as they could cram into the script, Shatner’s vision was muddled and became what many consider to be the worst of the original cast films in the franchise. But is it really that bad? Is it possible to get past the terrible humor and find a compelling story? Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we continue our Star Trek series and look for these answers and more in Shatner’s 1989 film Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.” 

We talk about the overall problems we have with this film but how the story itself is actually quite compelling. We look at how the relationship between Kirk, Spock and McCoy is developed in this film and what elements of that development work for us. We chat about the character of Sybok and the problem he created for many ardent fans – a laughing Vulcan! We shake our heads at much of the bad comedy and screenwriting that nearly buries the fascinating story in nonsense (and some would say DID bury it (buried alive…)). We look at the style and verve that Shatner infused in the film with the lighting and camerawork, not to mention the incredible score he gets out of Jerry Goldsmith, returning to the franchise. And we ponder the merits of the Kraft Marshmallow (marshmelon?) Dispenser in all of its glory. 

It’s an incredibly problematic film that represents some of the franchise’s worst… but also some of its best. We have a great time chatting about it so check it out then tune in! When the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

Pete Wright
Howl's Moving Castle

"Nothing but witches and wizards ahead."

Howl's Moving Castle on The Next Reel Film Podcast

Hayao Miyazaki did not attend the Oscars to pick up his Academy Award for Best Animated Film for Spirited Away because he was protesting the Iraq War. When it came time to make his next film, he took his frustration with the war and added a strong anti-war element to Howl’s Moving Castle. Diane Wynne Jones’ original novel, upon which the movie was based, didn’t focus nearly as much on the war but Miyazaki wanted to get his point across. In the end, his film still proved vastly successful, even if it’s not his strongest film. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we wrap up our latest Hayao Miyazaki series with his 2004 film Howl’s Moving Castle.

We talk about the themes Miyazaki is pushing with this film and why, perhaps, his insistence in adding so much war to the film kept him from focusing on other elements of the story that could’ve provided more cohesion. We chat about how we still enjoy this world created here for us, despite some of this lack of cohesion. We discuss the English and Japanese voice actors, pointing out the ones that worked well for us and the ones that didn’t. We touch on some of the French locations Miyazaki used as inspiration to create this world. We revel in the beautiful music that Joe Hisaishi composed for this film, and we marvel at how successful this film was in Japan, even if it wasn’t at the top of our Miyazaki chart. 

It’s a beautiful film told in an incredibly creative world with a plot that’s a bit messy, but still worth watching. Check it out then tune in! When the movie ends, our conversation begins.

Film Sundries

Trailers of the Week

  • Andy's Trailer: Wonder — "Yes, I’m a sucker for these sorts of movies that totally pull at my heartstrings. All it took was this trailer for me to be practically in tears. Honestly, I picked this because I’m so excited by Jacob Tremblay and want to see how his career evolves. Incredible child actor who’s making some interesting choices."
  • Pete's Trailer: Logan Lucky — "Guess what? Soderbergh is back! Again! And this time he’s got a NASCAR caper that would appear to lampoon-ebrate the deep culture of the south. I’m a big fan of Soderbergh’s caper flicks so you can count me in for any fast-drivin’, Daniel Craigin’, one-armin’ good times on the speedway."
Pete Wright