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Ready Player One is a worldwide hit and the lead actor, teenager Tye Sheridan, is headed for fame. So your trusty podcast brings you the story on his best performance, in Jeff Nichols’s Mud, alongside Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, the late Sam Shepard, and Michael Shannon. The movie came out in 2012 and was nominated for the most important art film award, the Palme D’or at Cannes. It’s a coming-of-age story set in Nichols’s native Arkansas, on the Mississippi, and it owes a lot to both Mark Twain’s Huck Finn and Flannery O’Connor’s violence and religion storytelling. It’s all-American in the best way, not least because it showcases the full humanity of the drama of rural communities that seem to have run out of future.
Carl’s recommendations from among Jeff Nichols’s movie–which, of course, I second–are Loving, which earned an Oscar nomination…
…and Shotgun Stories, his directorial debut, a story about working-class men in Arkansas and the tragedy of broken families, which won him an award at a notable European film festival, the Viennale.
Carl and Flagg (yes, folks, our own @FlaggTaylor) and I have done a bunch of other podcasts you can find on iTunes, SoundCloud, and, of course, Ricochet. Here’s a brief rundown of our previous five conversations and all the insight and wit we’ve got to offer:
Roman J. Israel Esq., Denzel Washington’s most recent Oscar nominated film.
The Lives of Others, the Best Foreign Film Oscar winner movie about the corruption of Communism in East Germany, on which Carl and Flagg edited a book, Totalitarianism on Screen, of which I am a proud owner and recommender.
Damsels in Distress, the Whit Stillman movie that gives a comic conservative answer to the dramatic conservative novel about American elite colleges in the 21st century, Tom Wolfe’s I Am Charlotte Simmons, and a movie starring Greta Gerwig, recently nominated for the Oscar for her writer-director debut, Lady Bird (which I discussed with Armond White).
Last Days of Disco, the lovely, but also deeply spiritual Whit Stillman comedy about young college graduates trying to find love, friendship, and conversation in a disco club.
Gran Torino, a movie which, like Mud, has much wisdom to offer on the plight of the working classes and the agony of manliness in America, but this time in an urban setting, and at the same time a movie that gave us the last great Clint Eastwood character, Walt Kowalski.