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 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 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.
Bill and Ted discuss Tim Burton’s 1988 film “Beetlejuice,” featuring Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis as the ghosts of newly deceased Adam and Barabra Maitlandas they try to spook the NYC high society Deetzes’ and their Goth daughter Lydia played by Winona Ryder who purchased their house in a sleepy New England town. Failing to frighten the Deetzes on their own, they reluctantly turn to the rogue “bio-exorcist” ghost Beetlejuice played to the hilt by Michael Keaton. Burton merges German expressionist style with upbeat Calypso music in this oddly colourful and straggly up-beat ghost story. Of the film Burton says, “It has elements of horror but it’s not really scary, and it’s funny but not really a comedy.” If you enjoyed this film you may also like these: Ted’s Picks: Defending Your Life (1991), The Frighteners (1996), Corpse Bride (2005)
Bill and Ted discuss Tim Burton’s 1989 film “Batman,” featuring Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Jack Nicholson as the Joker. Dark and brooding Burton twists the campy qualities of the 1960’s Adam West version of Batman in into a dark freak show doubling down on Wayne’s introspection and the Joker’s psychosis. Brimming with memorable lines and iconic moments the film is not without its narrative and structural problems; certainly a film that paved the way forward toward the ensuing proliferation of blockbuster superhero films. If you enjoyed this film you may also like these: Ted’s Picks: Batman Returns (1992), The Dark Knight (2008), Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)
Bill and Ted discuss Wes Anderson’s 2001 film “The Royal Tenenbaums,” featuring Gene Hackman as the conniving patriarch Royal Tenenbaum with Luke Wilson, Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow as his adult children Richie, Chas and Margot and Anjelica Huston as their mother Etheline also featuring Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Danny Glover, Seymour Cassel and Kumar Pallana. A quirky movie about life and death, regret and reconciliation amidst an eccentric and eclectic ensemble cast that perfectly embodies the maxim “Family is not a word; it’s a sentence.” If you enjoyed this film you may also like these Ted’s Picks: Home for the Holidays (1995), The Darjeeling Limited (2007), Nebraska (2013)
Bill and Ted continue their two-part discussion of director Wes Anderson. The focus of this episode is themes and characters in Anderson’s films Bottle Rocket (1996), The Darjeeling Limited (2007), Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), Moonrise Kingdome (2012) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). Looking for other films with offbeat ensemble casts? Here are Ted’s Picks: The Princess Bride (1987), O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), Midnight in Paris (2011)
Bill and Ted launch a two-part discussion about auteur director Wes Anderson. The focus of this episode is Anderson’s direction, style and technique. This conversation includes but is not limited to Bottle Rocket (1996), The Darjeeling Limited (2007), Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), Moonrise Kingdome (2012) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). Looking for other deeply quirky auteur directors? Here are Ted’s Picks: Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
Bill and Ted discuss Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life,” a film as experimental as it is poetic investigating the mysteries of grief and loss and the dynamics of family life and life in general. This second half of their two part conversation focuses more on the son Jack, Malick’s use of music and some of the additions found in the 188min version of the film. If you enjoyed this film you may also like these; here are Ted’s Picks: The Seventh Seal (1957), The Thin Red Line (1998), Boyhood (2014)