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Michael and Us

Luke Savage and Will Sloan, Jacobin

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A podcast about culture, politics, and our crumbling world. Hosted by Will Sloan and Luke Savage. Exclusive subscriber-only episodes: https://www.patreon.com/michaelandus/overview
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Banned in 16 countries! So sickening it can only be real! In this special documentary episode Will goes on a journey through the history of the Mondo movie, from MONDO CANE to FACES OF DEATH and beyond.PATREON-EXCLUSIVE EPISODE - https://www.patreon.com/posts/544-history-of-108683201द्वारा Luke Savage and Will Sloan, Jacobin
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In 2005, the Clinton family's own foundation created a DVD compilation of times when Bill and Hillary brought the funny. We discuss A TIME TO LAUGH: THE CLINTONS' HUMOR (2005), and glean a little bit of insight into how the former First Family view themselves. PLUS: From an assassination attempt of the former U.S. president to a coup attempt on the…
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What do you do when you're stuck in that limbo period before your poorly-rated show has been cancelled? For Aaron Sorkin, you work through your feelings in your art. This week we discuss Episode 18 of STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP, "Breaking News."PATREON-EXCLUSIVE EPISODE - https://www.patreon.com/posts/542-studio-sucky-108277667…
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Social media has been full of smiling genocidiers lately, so it's a good time to revisit THE ACT OF KILLING (2012). Joshua Oppenheimer's experimental documentary about the legacy of the Indonesian mass killings asks: What would it take to prick a mass murderer's conscience? And how does violence linger in the human soul? PLUS: So, have you heard ab…
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In Akira Kurosawa's KAGEMUSHA (1980), a lowly thief is recruited to impersonate a feudal warlord, and he almost gets away with it. This mighty epic gives us opportunity to ponder the role of illusion in maintaining power, and whether or not a lie will always be exposed. PLUS: Recapping the U.K. election, and hey, have you heard about this Joe Biden…
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THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF OUR ONGOING "STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP" SERIES ON PATREON - Join us there for an extra episode every week - https://www.patreon.com/michaelandusIt's Studio 60 vs the unions in Episode 17 ("The Disaster Show") of Aaron Sorkin's STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP. We're pleased to welcome Will Menaker (of Chapo Trap House and Mov…
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It's Studio 60 vs the unions in Episode 17 ("The Disaster Show") of Aaron Sorkin's STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP. We're pleased to welcome Will Menaker (of Chapo Trap House and Movie Mindset fame) to help us make sense of Sorkin's perspective on organized labor. PLUS: So have you heard about Joe Biden?PATREON-EXCLUSIVE EPISODE - https://www.patreon…
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Government and big tech are in cahoots to reshape America, and the only man who can stop it is Elon Musk. That's more-or-less the thesis of THE TWITTER FILES (2023), a movie that plumbs new depths even in the right-wing movie ecosystem. PLUS: The first Biden/Trump debate and state of the Canadian Liberal Party.Join us on Patreon for an extra episod…
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As we drift further and further into STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP, we find a show that is quickly losing touch with its original premise of saving comedy, and transforming into a workplace soap opera with a lot of sexual harassment. We discuss episodes 14 ("The Harriet Dinner Part II") and 15 ("The Friday Night Slaughter").PATREON-EXCLUSIVE EPISOD…
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You can go looking for the zeitgeist, but only the zeitgeist can find you. That's what the makers of countless pieces of failed Oscar bait have learned. In this special episode, we run through some of the most legendary failed Oscar bait of the last 25 years and speculate why they didn't catch anything. PLUS: presidential libraries, the Obama Found…
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We know you've waited a whole week since our last episode on STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP, anxiously looking forward to any update on the Macau Deal. Your wish is our command. We discuss Episodes 12 ("Monday") and 13 ("The Harriet Dinner, Part 1") - more than halfway through, folks!PATREON-EXCLUSIVE EPISODE - https://www.patreon.com/posts/534-stud…
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When our politicians fail us, can journalism save us? We revisit George Clooney's GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK (2005), about Edward R. Murrow's battle with Joseph McCarthy, and get a lesson in how the liberal imagination remembers the Red Scare. PLUS: the rise of A.I. in the arts, and the state of the centre-left in Europe.Join us on Patreon for an ext…
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We continue our long journey through the dark heart of Aaron Sorkin's STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP. Jordan gets pregnant, Harriet is inducted into the Falstaff Society, Matt & Danny create the most Epic Christmas TV broadcast ever, and Aaron Sorkin confirms once and for all that Santa isn't real in Episode 10 ("B-12") and Episode 11 ("The Christma…
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During the Trump presidency, #TheResistance had a powerful figurehead, and his name was (the late) Mr. Rogers. We discuss the Tom Hanks-led #nicecore landmark A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD (2019), the strengths and limitations of Fred Rogers as a Trump-era political symbol, and what this movie fails to understand about him. PLUS: What's eatin…
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Growing up in Iran under the shadow of American imperialism, filmmaker Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa felt an unlikely personal connection with American cinema - specifically, the films of Jerry Lewis. In her documentary JERRY AND ME (2012) she explores Lewis as a symbol of America and a universal archetype for outsiders... but also runs into the limits of Lew…
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Our journey through America's second-greatest law-and-order franchise continues with WALKING TALL: THE PAYBACK (2007), a direct-to-video adventure with Kevin Sorbo. We discuss how the rural Dirty Harry was reimagined (or not) for the late Bush era. PLUS: Randall Emmett, Kevin Spacey, the death of cinema, and of course, Donald Trump's guilty verdict…
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The troops fight abroad, and sketch comedians fight on the home front. In our latest dispatch from the universe of Aaron Sorkin's STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP, we ponder the author's tortured relationship with everything from advertising to gender to Woody Allen via "The Nevada Day" Parts 1 & 2 and "The Option Period."PATREON-EXCLUSIVE EPISODE - h…
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In the feature-film adaptation of John le Carré's TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY (2011), Cold War-era Britain doesn't look that much different from behind the Iron Curtain - visually, at least. We discuss the challenges of compressing an intricate novel into a two-hour movie, and try to situate le Carré politically. PLUS: Taking the temperature of th…
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It's a jumbo-sized helping of Aaron Sorkin as we continue our descent into madness/journey through STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP. In this instalment, we consider Sorkin's views on race, the Greatest Generation, and Abbott & Costello. PLUS: We probe further into the dark heart of Jerry Seinfeld.PATREON-EXCLUSIVE EPISODE - https://www.patreon.com/pos…
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Maybe it's a fool's errand to look for politics in the Marx Brothers' DUCK SOUP (1933), but nevertheless, many have tried. We discuss the philosophy of the Brothers' tomfoolery, and the way that movies and literature imagine countries like Freedonia.Join us on Patreon for an extra episode every week - https://www.patreon.com/michaelandus…
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After inhabiting the White House but before examining the Newsroom, Aaron Sorkin created a show that sought nothing less than to fix the most important American institution of them all: Saturday Night Live. We launch what will eventually become a multi-episode discussion of STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP (2006-7).Join us on Patreon for an extra epis…
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You've seen Air, you've seen Blackberry, and are you ready for the Corporate I.P. genre to reach its baroque period? We discuss Jerry Seinfeld's UNFROSTED (2024), a comedy about the invention of the pop-tart, and attempt an ideological reading of a comedian who has stubbornly resisted ideology.PATREON-EXCLUSIVE EPISODE - https://www.patreon.com/pos…
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A new campaign to boycott Canada's biggest grocery chain raises a plethora of issues about how monopolies work in Canada, and what role governments and consumers should play in combatting them. On this special episode, Luke welcomes writers David Moscrop and Mitchell Thompson to discuss the Loblaws boycott and Canada's grocery-store oligarchs, the …
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In the election year of 2004, an ultraviolent subtitled right-wing Christian movie became a genuine cultural phenomenon and political lightning-rod. We finally discuss THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST (2004) and theology according to Mel Gibson. PLUS: the White House Correspondents Dinner, the Columbia encampment, and the one optimistic takeaway of a disc…
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We had to do it. We heard that GOD'S NOT DEAD: WE THE PEOPLE (2021), the fourth entry in the Evangelical film franchise, goes all-in on the culture wars of the Trump years. We welcome back our official God's Not Dead correspondent Alex Shephard to discuss the wackiest entry yet.PATREON-EXCLUSIVE EPISODE - https://www.patreon.com/posts/103293856…
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If all of our current class hierarchies were eliminated, what would replace them? This question is at the core of TRIANGLE OF SADNESS (2022), the art-house hit that show the limits of being an "equal-opportunity offender." PLUS: campus protests, keffiyeh bans, and the state of the publishing industry.Join us on Patreon for an extra episode every we…
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Less than a decade after the revolutionary potential of the May 1968 protests, Robert Bresson's THE DEVIL, PROBABLY (1977) follows a disaffected youth in a world full of evil who asks: Is life worth living? It's a hard question, but we do our best to answer it.Join us on Patreon for an extra episode every week - https://www.patreon.com/michaelandus…
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Aiming straight for the zeitgeist, CIVIL WAR (2024) is a disaster movie for the post-January 6th America. But in deliberately removing any politics or ideology from his vision of a country at war with itself, Alex Garland has made a movie that is rigorously, even militantly unwilling to say anything.PATREON-EXCLUSIVE EPISODE - https://www.patreon.c…
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By the third entry of the God's Not Dead franchise, its creative team had clearly started listening to their critics. The result was a kinder, gentler right-wing Evangelical Christian drama that sought to heal divides... and failed at the box office. We welcome back New Republic writer and our resident God's Not Dead correspondent Alex Shephard to …
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When he emerged on radio, he was celebrated as a pioneering black star in a white entertainment landscape. By the time of the Civil Rights Movement, he was regarded by many a symbol of black subservience. In this solo documentary episode Cohost Will considers the career and thorny legacy of Eddie Anderson, the actor and comedian who played "Rochest…
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With the world in flames, it was time to have a little fun. We return to one of our all-time favourite discoveries, checking in on John Cleese's mind-bogglingly awful GB News chat show THE DINOSAUR HOUR to see how or if it has evolved since its debut. PLUS: What exactly do conservatives mean by "Marxism"? And Will uncovers a right-wing Evangelical …
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For seven weeks in 1936 and 1937, workers at the General Motors plant in Flint Michigan held a risky sit-down strike. A true David vs. Goliath story, their strike won recognition for the United Auto Workers and changed labour in the United States forever. With a newer UAW strike fresh in the memory, we discuss the BBC documentary THE GREAT SIT-DOWN…
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Imagine a world where shadowy forces completely disconnected from democracy control everything. Friends, you don't have to imagine, because this world is the setting for the quintessential '70s paranoia thriller, THE PARALLAX VIEW (1974).PATREON-EXCLUSIVE EPISODE - https://www.patreon.com/posts/513-parallax-101743154…
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We follow up our recent episode on a 1973 law-and-order semi-classic by examining its Bush-era remake. We found a gentrified and sandpapered WALKING TALL (2004), with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson" in a role "inspired by a true story" "suggested by events in the life of Buford Pusser."PATREON-EXCLUSIVE EPISODE - https://www.patreon.com/posts/512-walkin…
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In 1939, King George VI visited President Roosevelt to gain his support in the coming war. Some years later, it happened. As the Bill Murray vehicle HYDE PARK ON HUDSON (2012) unconvincingly argues, the Special Relationship was sealed over a hot dog. We dig up a forgotten piece of failed Oscar bait just to bury it all over again.BONUS Hyde Park on …
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Our Superdelgate patron tier has tasked us with discussed the sitcom THE GOOD PLACE, and it leads us down a dark and scary path of remembering culture and politics in the early Trump era. PLUS: Checking in with Garfield Eats, and Luke sounds off on Masters of the Air.PATREON-EXCLUSIVE EPISODE - https://www.patreon.com/posts/510-2017-core-100993255…
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For decades, a cottage industry flourished in the subterranean depths of the American music industry: send a company your poem, and for a fee, they'll turn it into a song. Maybe the song will even be your entryway into the industry and the Billboard charts! But most assuredly it will not be. Was this industry exploitative? Did it produce art? What …
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An anti-imperial saga dreamed up by a Nixon-supporting conservative... a White Saviour narrative adapted to a time skeptical of White Saviours... folks, you could say that DUNE: PART TWO (2024) and its source material are a land of contradictions.PATREON-EXCLUSIVE EPISODE - https://www.patreon.com/posts/508-spice-world-100540196…
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In 1991, over 100 of the the most famous singers, movie stars, an athletes in America got together to record a song for the troops in the first Gulf War. We take a visit to the consent-manufacturing factory and discuss the "apolitical" James Woods-hosted TV special VOICES THAT CARE: STAND TALL, STAND PROUD (1991).Watch the special here: https://www…
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Remember. Every day here, you're selling. Every thing you do, every interaction you have, every breath you take needs to be in the service of selling. But it shouldn't look like that. We're not that kind of store. Our customers don't appreciate being sold to. You should feel proud to work here. We discuss THE STORE (1983), by the god of cinéma véri…
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Against the backdrop of the incredibly boring 2000 election, the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman went on a cross-country journey to see if George W. Bush or Al Gore represented America. The result was THE PARTY'S OVER (2001), aka THE LAST PARTY 2000 - that's right, it's an official sequel to the Robert Downey Jr-hosted documentary. We found many…
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In 1985, Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie brought some of their most famous peers under the same roof to record "We Are the World." To some, the result was the epitome of tacky celebrity philanthropy culture. But for the makers of the new documentary THE GREATEST NIGHT IN POP (2024), it was exactly what that title says.PATREON-EXCLUSIVE EPISODE - …
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What Dirty Harry Callahan did for the big city, Buford Pusser did for the rural south. We discuss the Silent Majority semi-classic WALKING TALL (1973), a Nixon-era Red State phenomenon that asks: who needs due process when you can carry a big stick?Good scenes from FRAMED (1975) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xI8behel7BE&t=45s&ab_channel=Bananas…
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We've made a bit of a hobby of mining children's movies from the 1990s for ideology, so our Superdelegate patron tier sent us a challenge: discuss ANTZ (1998) and its vision of an anthill as an alienated '90s workspace. We happily obliged.PATREON-EXCLUSIVE EPISODE - https://www.patreon.com/posts/502-rainy-day-in-99216863…
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In 1987, America was ready to look back on the Vietnam War... with laughter. We discuss GOOD MORNING VIETNAM (1987) and why it is one of the quintessential "boomer liberal" texts. PLUS: We check in on the state of Canadian politics (it's not good, folks).Join us on Patreon for an extra episode every week - https://www.patreon.com/michaelandus…
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We mark an auspicious anniversary in frankly self-indulgent fashion, by revisiting one of our mutual favorite movies: Martin Scorsese's THE KING OF COMEDY (1982). We ask: does the future belong to Rupert Pupkin? And if so, how? PLUS: See, it started as a Michael Moore podcast...PATREON-EXLUSIVE EPISODE - https://www.patreon.com/posts/500-500th-9873…
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The American healthcare system is broken, but why? According to Robin Williams in PATCH ADAMS (1998), it's because the medical profession has lost touch with the healing power of laughter. We discuss one of the most cloying movies of all time.Join us on Patreon for an extra episode every week - https://www.patreon.com/michaelandus…
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We discuss THE MENU (2022) and its place in the context of the current wave of "eat the rich" cinema. PLUS: we discuss Walter Isaacson's new hagiography of Elon Musk, and Joe Biden's wildly successful "I'm fit for office" press conference.Join us on Patreon for an extra episode every week - https://www.patreon.com/michaelandus…
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It begins as an "eat the rich" movie, but turns into something very different. We discuss the movie that is burning up TikTok, SALTBURN (2023), and its odd take on class mobility.PATREON-EXCLUSIVE EPISODE - https://www.patreon.com/posts/497-oxbridge-98117512द्वारा Luke Savage and Will Sloan, Jacobin
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We're in a contemplative mood on this episode, and there's no filmmaker better suited for such a mood than Yasujirō Ozu. We discuss his final film, AN AUTUMN AFTERNOON (1962), and how Ozu's seemingly narrow thematic and stylistic palette encompasses so much of the human condition.PATREON-EXLUSIVE EPISODE - https://www.patreon.com/posts/496-autumn-9…
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