Bill and Ted discuss Bill Melendez’s 1965 film “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” the beloved TV holiday special written by Charles M. Schulz and starring the Peanuts gang featuring the sweetly melancholic jazz score by Vince Guaraldi. Charlie Brown simply wants to know what Christmas is all about. In his search, he encounters pop psychology, sociology, and rampant consumerism at every turn. Melendez’s short film effortlessly cuts through the cultural clutter of the 1960’s bringing Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip to animated life while providing Charlie Brown, and all of us, with the answer he seeks.
Bill and Ted discuss Wes Anderson’s 2004 film “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.” Set against a quirky backdrop populated with colourful characters, the film features Bill Murray as a Jacque Cousteau-esque oceanographer contemplating fatherhood and failure following the death of his long time partner and friend Esteban (Seymour Cassel), who was eaten by the mysterious and possibly nonexistent Jaguar Shark. Ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime, Anderson’s film deals with the nature of perception and its effects on personal insecurities and relationships.
Bill and Ted discuss John Huston’s 1948 film “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” featuring Humphrey Bogart as an out of work American Fred C. Dobbs who convinces an old prospector (Walter Huston) to help him and a buddy (Tim Holt) mine for gold in the Sierra Madre Mountains of 1920’s Mexico. Huston provides a rich character study of the three central characters as they deal with the dangers of greed and the length people will go to get material riches.
Bill and Ted discuss Frank Capra’s 1944 film “Arsenic and Old Lace” featuring Cary Grant as Mortimer Brewster, a theatre critic who finds unexpected drama of his own tucked away in his aunts’ window seat on Oct 31st in Brooklyn New York when he and his bride come to tell the family the good news of their sudden nuptials. Hoping to quickly skip town for a honeymoon in Niagra Falls, Mortimer and his new wife Elaine (Priscilla Lane) become embroiled in a macabre comedy of errors as Mortimer struggles to contain the situation. This is broad, physical, and at times gallows humour filled with some great performances, even if Grant was unhappy with his own. If you find Capra to be sentimental and overly serious, have no fear; this film is far less sappy and much more on the silly side.
Bill and Ted discuss Jared Hess’ 2004 film “Napoleon Dynamite” featuring Jon Heder as the idiosyncratic, yet endearing, Napoleon Dynamite a high school student navigating friendship and family life in rural small town Idaho. A film that’s as much about being awkward as it is about being honest, a slow burn comedy that is extraordinarily polarizing. People either hate it or love it. Filled with deadpan humor and an abundance of quirky details this is a film that rewards repeat viewings.
For interested listeners, here are the Top Ten Asperger’s and Autism movies compiled by a child psychologist referred to in the podcast. Napoleon Dynamite is number 7 on this list.
Bill and Ted discuss Martin Scorsese’s 1991 film “Cape Fear,” featuring Robert De Niro as Max Cady, a hardened convict who, after 14 years of incarceration, obsessively seeks revenge on his former defense attorney Sam Bowden, played by Nick Nolte, who failed to keep Cady out of prison. Scorsese ramps up the tension in this remake of Lee Thompson’s 1962 black and white film noir inspired pulp fiction thriller Cape Fear. While he, his wife. and teenage daughter are stalked, threatened, and terrorized, Bowden increasingly faces having to take the law into his own hands.
Bill and Ted discuss Lee Thompson’s 1962 suspense thriller “Cape Fear,” featuring Robert Mitchum as Max Cady a hardened convict seeking revenge on prosecutor Sam Bowden, played by Gregory Peck, who helped send him away to prison for 8 eight years. Tension in this black and white film noir inspired pulp-fiction thriller mounts as Cady threatens Bowden’s wife and teenage daughter as the prosecutor is faced with the prospect of having to take the law into his own hands.
Bill and Ted discuss Christopher Nolan’s 2014 film “Interstellar,” featuring Matthew McConaughey as Joe Cooper a former NASA test pilot and engineer venturing into space to save the world and his family from a worldwide blight-induced famine: Cooper’s odyssey sees him brave relativity, wormholes, a gargantuan black hole and the best and worst aspects of humanity in the darkness of interstellar space. A graceful film full of love and rockets, physics and ghosts, gravity and robots, the 5th dimension and even a sort of time travel co-starring Michael Caine, Anne Hathaway, Casey Affleck, Jessica Chastain, Topher Grace, Ellen Burstyn and a young Timothée Chalamet and Mackenzie Foy.
Bill and Ted discuss Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 film “Rear Window,” featuring Jimmy Stewart as LB Jefferies a convalescing photo-journalist who can’t recuperate without spying on his neighbours with Grace Kelly as his socialite girlfriend Lisa who gets drawn into a world of intrigue. An intricately crafted claustrophobic mystery thriller about the ethics of surveillance and voyeurism with a plot that hinges on Jefferies’ suspicion that one of neighbours has committed murder. Hitchcock deftly provides tension coming from both inside and outside of Jefferies NYC Greenwich village apartment with the contrasting themes of romance and murder.
Bill and Ted are joined by Tom Caldwell from “Good Evening: An Alfred Hitchcock Podcast” for a conversation about Hitchcock director of The Birds (1963), North by Northwest (1959), Vertigo (1958) and his most famous work Psycho (1960). Often referred to as the father of horror flicks, his work is less about gore and more about suspense and tension. Loved by directors, critics and the public, Hitchcock provides just the right amount of white knuckled fear and cleaver storytelling to keep everyone hooked and on the edge of their seats.