Ladies and gentlemen… start your engines… for another edition of The Discourse, the program where we discuss film and television reviews, news, and anything else in the pop culture zeitgeist that we feel the need to weigh in on.
On this episode, I’m joined by Rafael Motamayor (/Film, Polygon, The Playlist) and Griffin Schiller (FilmSpeak, The Fourth Wall) to primarily discuss two vastly different films, but both share a minor connection in that they’re not only entering this year’s awards race, but they have equal parts bravado and tenderness.
We start with “Ford v Ferrari,” James Mangold‘s retelling of Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and Ken Miles (Christian Bale) being contracted by the Ford Motor Company (and a scene-stealing Tracy Letts as Henry Ford II) to design a race car good enough to beat Ferrari at the 24 hour race at Le Mans in 1966. This highly entertaining blockbuster for adults easily took 1st place at the box office this last weekend to the tune of $31 million (not to mention a rare “A+” CinemaScore), and we speculate that just like the car Shelby and Miles designs, the film is going to have both box office and awards stamina. All three of us enjoyed the film, though not without some minor qualms (such as the remnants of Michael Mann‘s now-defunct Enzo Ferrari biopic – to which Mann is an executive producer on Mangold’s film – which Mangold executes excellently though at times feel at odds with a routine biopic structure).
We then pivot over to “Honey Boy,” written, produced, and starring Shia LaBeouf as a fictionalized version of his father. Directed by Alma Har’el, this deeply personal and touching film feels the opposite of a “vanity project,” and gives us some of the year’s best performances from not only LaBeouf, but of Noah Jupe and Lucas Hedges, who play the fictionalized LaBeouf at two different points in his life. We conclude with a revamped version of our recommendations segment called “The Grab Bag,” where we gab about anything we’ve watched recently that we’d recommend or any other news stories worth covering. In this section, we primarily discuss “The Mandalorian,” “Watchmen,” and Martin Scorsese‘s “The Irishman,” among other brief topics.
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