All in Drama

Episode 116 - Children of Heaven

This week, we watch the first Iranian film to be nominated for Best Foreign Picture at the Academy Awards. The quietest children’s movie we’ve ever seen, it’s focus on the simply story of a lost pair of shoes turns out to be a full of lessons on family, poverty, and sacrifice, even in the smallest of things. Children of Heaven (1997), directed by Majid Majidi.

Episode 117 - Raging Bull

This week, we watch true story of Jake La Motta, one of the toughest boxers to ever step into the ring. With only 9 minutes of boxing in the 2-hour-plus runtime, this film focuses on the rage and jealousy that Jake experienced with his second wife as well as his brother. Robert De Niro’s most raw and physically demanding performance. Raging Bull (1980), directed by Martin Scorsese.

Episode 119 - Die Hard

This week, we watch the only action movie that features a scene of a man running across glass in bare feet and also plays repeatedly on Christmas. Jumpstarting a blockbusting film series as well as Bruce Willis’ career, this film balances comedy with graphic, violent action in a way that still holds up strongly today, even if the hairstyles don’t. Die Hard (1988), directed by John McTiernan.

Episode 122 - Chinatown

This week, we watch the film that launched Jack Nicholson into stardom while creating perhaps the best film noir of all time, decades after the genre left the mainstream. With a chaotic shoot, and uncertainty about the quality of the film until its 11 Academy Award nominations, it remains fascinating to watch the mystery of the films story unravel with Mr. Gittes. Chinatown (1974), directed by Roman Polanski.

Episode 124 - Room

This week, we watch the film that forced tears out of full theaters in 2015. Set mostly within a 15’x15’ room, the story smartly focuses on the relationship between mother and son, keeping the film from seeming too contained and unmoving. Also featuring the performance that landed Brie Larson the role of Captain Marvel. Room (2015), directed by Lenny Abrahamson.

Episode 126 - On The Waterfront

This week, we watch the American classic that portrays the life of a dockworker who works for the mob. This film changed Hollywood movies forever with Marlon Brando’s performance, which brought a type of realism into the mainstream that was previously only seen in a small number of European films. This story was also based on true to life violent criminal activity going on at the time. On The Waterfront (1954), Elia Kazan.

Episode 127 - My Neighbor Totoro

This week, we watch the film that gave Studio Ghibli their iconic character, who happens to be a giant bunny/bear/owl spirit (with human teeth). While this animated tale might advertise itself as high fantasy, it really spends most of its time with two young girls (sisters) who have to move to the countryside to be closer to their sick mother’s hospital, and the kindness they show each other during their difficult time. Also, there is a enormous 12-legged Catbus. My Neighbor Totoro (1988), directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

Episode 128 - Ikiru

This week, we watch the tale of a man diagnosed with stomach cancer, which causes him to reflect on his seemingly wasted life. Taking its time to establish moods appropriate for the subject matter, this film makes you think about what it means to be alive, and how to get the most out of life with what short time we have. Ikiru (1952), directed by Akira Kurosawa.

Episode 129 - Ran

This week, we watch the last epic made by the man who is widely regarded as one of the best directors of all time. With thousands of extras, hundreds of horses, full scale battles, and castles built on the side of Mount Fuji, Kurosawa takes his time and lets each shot linger, recreating the paintings he made that were used as storyboards. Ran (1985), directed by Akira Kurosawa.

Episode 131 - Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

This week, we watch Jimmy Stewart become a star, in one of the most perfectly aged films of all time. Everything is somehow still relevant 80 years later, from the humor to the characters, to the dead-on commentary on political corruption. This film, on a short list alongside 12 Angry Men, should be required viewing for everyone in the United States. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), directed by Frank Capra.

BONUS EPISODE! BlacKkKlansman

This week, we abandon the list to watch one of the best movies of last year, and a Best Picture Academy Award nominee. Combining the comedy of a buddy-cop film with the heavy drama of real historical and present day events revolving around racism in the United States, this film packs an enormous emotional punch, and successfully provokes conversations about the state of this country that we should all be having. BlacKkKlansman (2018), directed by Spike Lee.

Episode 132 - The Bridge on the River Kwai

This week, we watch the classic war film that dominated the Oscars the year it was released. On a remote Japanese island, a large group of British and American soldiers, now prisoners, are forced to build a bridge. The movie’s production took place in the jungle, and included hundreds of extras and enormous sets, yet the story of the soldiers is what makes this film a classic that still holds up today. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), directed by David Lean.

BONUS EPISODE! All the President's Men

This week, we go off the top 250 list and watch the film that set the standard on how to make an interesting, funny, and informative story about the tedium that is good reporting, and would rightfully accept any and all association to the best picture winner Spotlight, as the influences are apparent. How is this not one of the top 250? All the President’s Men (1976), directed by Alan Pakula.