Golden Girls: Of Human Bondage (1934)

This week from Double Exposure comes the movie that made Bette Davis a star: Of Human Bondage. 

Based on the novel by W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage portrays a world in which human lives are inexplicably intertwined, for good and ill. Today the film is remembered mostly for the harrowing performance from the young Davis, who went from anonymous Hollywood actress to sensation, even earning herself an Write-In nomination for the Academy Awards. 

On the episode, Courtney and Chris discuss the life an unwed woman with a baby in the 30s, the power that hides in those Bette Davis eyes, and (obviously) The First Purge.


Golden Girls: The Women (1939)

The Women, a 1939 comedy/drama directed by the legend George Cukor, features 130 actors, of whom 120 have speaking parts. Of those 130 actors, exactly zero of them are men. 

There are, additionally, no photos of men, or paintings. All the animals (and there are many dogs and horses) are female. This alone is a remarkable accomplishment; I mention it here not because the lack of men is what matters in this movie, but because men are, truthfully, what The Women is all about. 

It's a strange affair, in that way, but luckily for everyone,The Women is also a tremendously enjoyable romp. Join Chris and Courtney as they unpack an hilarious comedy of cheating and divorce and back-stabbing gossip, with a dose of sultry Joan Crawford to boot.


Chick Flicks: A Fantastic Woman

The final episode in Double Exposure's Chick Flicks series is here, with the Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film: A Fantastic Woman.

The Chilean film tells the story of a transgender woman who loses her lover to an untimely death. The tragedy leaves her to face her lover's family, the police, and her grief, all while struggling to hold her personal life together. 

Courtney and Chris contemplate the difficulty of transgender life, and the innate political dynamic of simply trying to live a trans life in the world. 

Also: the next series arc is revealed. So stay tune for that.


Chick Flicks: Zero Dark Thirty

Whether you think that Katherine Bigelow's 2012 Zero Dark Thirty is an ode to the glory of torture or a precursor to Claire Danes on Homeland, there's no disputing that there's a lot of feels wrapped up in seeing a character like Maya in a role typically reserved for a man. 

In this penultimate episode of the Chick Flicks arc, Chris and on what makes Maya so powerful, but also her downfalls as she leans in to a sort of triumph that might not be so triumphant. 


Chick Flicks: The Witch

Woulds't thou like to live deliciously? So asks Black Phillip to Thomasin in the 2016 Puritan horror story The Witch. And I think we all know the answer: Yes, doy! Delicious, witchly, eternity plz.

In this week's Chick Flick, The Which, first-time director Robert Eggers provides a masterclass in period detail, and his directorial precision pairs beautifully with intricate and devastating performances--chiefly from Anya Taylor-Joy--that left both Chris and Courtney in awe.

The Witch also gives Chris a chance to nerd out on Puritan history and religion, an opportunity he always welcomes. 

Also on the episode, a conversation about Donald Glover's 'This is America:' the song, the video, and how white folks react to African-American art, provide an extended intro debate that covers Donald Glover, Kanye West, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and more.


Chick Flicks: Set It Off

Journey back to 1996 with Chris and Courtney as they revisit a complex action-drama that investigates race, systemic violence, police abuse, income inequality, gender and sexuality. F. Gary Gray's Set It Off was both ahead of its time and for all times.

The conversation includes quotes from two articles that are essential reading for watching Set It Off in 2018:

1. For Cleo: Set It Off's Ultimate Ride or Die by Amanda Parris. 
2. Why Set It Off is a Seminal Film for Black Feminism by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan.

Read them.

Also on the episode, the hosts review (rave, really) about two Janelle Monae videos: PYNK and Make Me Feel. Both singles appear on Monae's new and inspired album, 'Dirty Computer.' Which you should definitely buy.


Chick Flicks: Lady Bird

This year, Greta Gerwig became the fifth woman to ever be nominated for a best director Oscar. In this episode of Double Exposure: Chick Flicks, Courtney and Chris discuss Gerwig's directorial debut, Lady Bird.

Unanimously beloved by both hosts, Courtney and Chris dive deep into WHAT exactly makes this movie such a darling of critics and viewers alike, besides, of course the immense talent. Also, what's the story with Lady Bird's comment at the end about God and parent-given names? Eh, hopefully someone will tell us.


Chick Flicks: Whale Rider

Our first installment in Chick Flicks is the 2002 New Zealand film Whale Rider. Written and Directed by Niki Caro, the film tells the story of a 12-year old Paikea, born to be the next chief in a Maori village, but for one problem: she's a girl. 

Pai must face-off against the rigidity of her grandfather, a struggle that encapsulates the Maori conflict around gender, tradition and modernity.

In the episode, Courtney and Chris discuss feminine leadership, movies for kids vs. movies about kids, and our own desire (as white Americans) for deep cultural traditions.

Also, Courtney speaks whalish.


Monster Madness: The Little Shop of Horrors

The final episode of Double Exposure's Monster Madness series is here, and we're talking about The Little Shop of Horrors. Frank Oz's 1986 horror-musical-comedy, about an alien plant named Audrey II that eats humans in a flower shop on skid row, is based on an off-Broadway show, which was based on the 1960 Roger Corman movie. The whole thing is hilarious and ridiculous and holds up amazingly well 30 years later.

In the episode we discuss the what separates this campy horror musical from Rocky Horror Picture show, CGI effects vs. practical effects, how Oz and his creature effects team were able to make Audrey II sing so convincingly, and sadistic dentists. 

Also, we remember Stephen Hawking, and ask a question as unanswerable as the origins of the universe: What's more difficult: Writing jokes or astrophysics? 


Monster Madness: The Host (2006)

IndieWire calls the Korean horror movie The Host "the most defining monster movie of the 21st century," and what kind of Monster Movie series would we have if we ignored the such a picture? 

A bad one, is what. So this week, Courtney and Chris are talking Bong Joon-ho's funny and scary and political monster movie, about a family searching for a young girl abducted by a mutated amphibious river monster. As Courtney says, if you haven't seen it, just watch it. Cuz it's so good.

Also: thoughts on Children of the Corn, Oldboy, Boondock Saints, Courtney's insatiable desire for squid legs, and a very important question: If you were a radio DJ, what song would you play next?


Monster Madness: Nightbreed

In 1990, Clive Barker made an auteur attempt at monster moviemaking. Barker planned to make the Star Wars of horror movies,  a fully-realized world with history and mythology and culture. And to realize that vision, Barker planned to make a trilogy of pictures. 

Instead of all that, the world got Nightbreed. 

Nightbreed is a mess of a movie--at times inspired, at times awful--but it is beloved by many (including Courtney), and for good reason. This week, Chris and Courtney cover all things Nightbreed, plus: thoughts on Cloverfield Paradox, empathizing with beautiful weirdos, and could this movie hate cops more?

*Note: We watched the Director's Cut, released by Shout! Factory in 2014.


Monster Madness: The Bride of Frankenstein

This year is the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Isn't that crazy? Not only is the book timeless, brilliant, and hyper-modern, but it's inspired one what some (Chris) consider to be among the best of the Universal Monster movies. That's not the reason that Chris and Courtney are talking about Bride of Frankenstein. But it's a nice coincidence.

Discussion of Bride covers such spooky horror topics like: How did James Whale make those homunculi? How gay is this movie, really? Are men angry that they can't have babies? And, most importantly, who did the Bride's hair?

You know, monster movie stuff. 


Monster Madness: Cloverfield

After bringing us Felicity, Alias, and one good season of Lost, J.J. Abrams attempted to give the U.S. its very own Godzilla in the form of a big, ugly monster (alien?) rampaging through Manhattan. While it didn't quite rise to the challenge, Cloverfield is still a king among movies when it comes to the impact of the viral marketing and world-building it was able to pull off via the nascent internet of 2008. 

In this episode, Courtney and Chris drop some dramamine and get swallowed whole by this classic quaky-cam monster flick.


Monster Madness: The Thing

John Carpenter's The Thing was disregarded upon release, a critical and box-office dud. But in time, it has become recognized for what it is: a terrific, scary, gross, weird, and wonderful piece of monster-movie making.  It's not perfect, but it's a perfect start for Double Exposure's Monster Madness series.

In the episode, Courtney and Chris discuss the gross-out nature of The Thing's creature effects, Carpenter's decision to make the film with an all-male cast, and whether The Thing has any relevance for today's moment in time

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Movies for the End of the World: Dr. Strangelove

The end of the End of the World is Nigh! The final film in this series is Dr. Strangelove, Stanley Kubrick's beloved political satire from 1964, starring Peter Sellers, Peter Sellers, Peter Sellers, and George C. Scott. 

Laugh with Chris and Courtney, as they explore a biting and humor portrait of maximum ineptitude of a room full of men who hold in their very hands the power to destroy the world. 

Then, cry with Chris and Courtney, as they reflect on just how relevant that room of inept men with the power to destroy the world feels to our present day.

It's the end of our series, why not end it with a bang?

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Movies for the End of the World: War of the Worlds

Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds is one of the darkest films the director has ever made. Aliens zapping people left and right. Humans rioting and mobbing each other for survival. Churches getting ripped in half.

On this penultimate edition of Movies for the End of the World, Courtney and Chris talk humanoid aliens, 9/11 movies, Tom Cruise's parenting, and What It All Means if/when aliens arrive.

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Movies for the End of the World: Into the Forest

Double Exposure returns to the inspirational well of Canadian cinema with Into the Forest, a quiet tale of apocalyptic nightmare's come true, starring Evan Rachel Wood and Ellen Page (playing a little too young, but they're amazing so really, don't sweat it).

Writer/Director Patricia Rozema explores the end of the world from the perspective of two sisters in a remote part of British Columbia. The result is emotionally affecting and undoubtedly striking and at times, perhaps, a bit too convenient in story. Regardless, Into the Forest gives new meaning to the refrain 'the future is female,' and it's worth a watch and conversation, no mistake. 


Movies for the End of the World: Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

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Part 3 of Movies of the End of the World comes with a special guest, Maya Beck, who selected Hayao Miyazaki's post-apocalyptic Japanese classic of the push for peace in the midst of war, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. 

Maya was built in San Diego, CA and her creator-dad told her that she would become a real girl when she made 100 friends. She's stalled in the single digits, but takes comfort in the fact that she'll be on the stronger side of the imminent human-robot war.

She is story editor at Paper Darts and her work can be found at Lit Hub, Revolver, Mizna, PANK, Pollen, the Twin Cities Daily Planet, and more.

Where to Find Maya:

Notes for the episode: 
1. The Warriors on the Wind Poster:
Glorious insanity, no?

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2. The quote Maya references, about Bjork, from the New York Times, to rebuff Courtney: 

"In an interview at her apartment in Brooklyn, she said “Utopia” had long been her working title for the album. While making it, she read extensively about utopias: in academic studies and in stories and novels through the centuries, from ancient fables to the science fiction of Octavia E. Butler. “Utopia has gone from everything being monasteries, to feminist islands, to socialism, to ‘Peach Blossom Spring,” she said, referring to a tale of an isolated, idyllic community that was written in the fifth century in China.

The 2016 election of Donald J. Trump only strengthened her determination to envision hope. “If optimism ever was like an emergency, it’s now,” she said. “Instead of moaning and becoming really angry, we need to actually come up with suggestions of what the world we want to live in, in the future, could be. This album is supposed to be like an idea, a suggestion, a proposal of the world we could live in.”

Movies for the End of the World: Melancholia

It’s the end of the world...again! On this episode of Double Exposure’s mini season, we get caught up in the gravity of Melancholia, Lars Von Trier’s depressive vision of the apocalypse. 

Things get kind of dark as we wade through the guilt of humanity, the Nibiru cataclysm, and what makes Kiefer Sutherland charming. Come for the terror of the sublime, stay for the nihilism.