Tag: john presnall

ACF#26: The Fury


Dear Ricochetti, I’ve a new podcast to recommend: The Deep State Horror. It struck my friend John Presnall and me that the fears of gov’t once associated with the paranoid left–remember the ’70s–are now our fears, and we have pretty good evidence to go on. So we talked about De Palma’s amazing dramatization of the idea of secret agencies creating human weapons with superpowers–you know, the best and the brightest. People talking about the UN as the future, but involved in fairly dangerous espionage. Also, you get Kirk Douglas and John Cassavetes–enjoy!

ACF #29: Scarface part 2


Today, @johnpresnall and I are wrapping up a discussion on tragedy — that is Scarface — with some political notes and also a view of the cycle of regimes presented by Socrates near the end of Plato’s Republic. Yeah, we’re working overtime to make the most despised or at least underrated of the masters, Brian De Palma, reveal his inner greatness. In the mean time, we’ll go to the shocking lengths of praising Oliver Stone and making a bit of fun of Sidney Lumet…

ACF #23: Blow Out


Folks, here’s the completion of my trilogy with John Presnall on liberalism confronted with technological surveillance: Brian De Palma’s Blow Out, which puts together image and sound, Antonioni’s Blow-Up and Coppola’s The Conversation, turning these theoretical studies of art and technology into a practical matter — where does art stand to corrupt politics in our world.

ACF#22: The Conversation


Ok, here’s the next episode in our trilogy on liberalism and the age of technological surveillance. We talked about Antonioni’s Blow-up last week–we’re talking about De Palma’s Blow Out next week. This week, John Presnall and I talk about Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation. We talk about secrecy, the revelation of evil, and the limits of technology in achieving justice for all human beings. Listen, share, and let’s talk in the comments, friends!

ACF#40: Apocalypse Now


John Presnall and I offer you a conversation on Francis Ford Coppola’s most ambitious movie, Apocalypse Now. It was shot over most of a year in the bicentennial year 1976, and needed some three years of work to make into a movie, ready for release only in 1979, whereupon it won the Palme D’Or at Cannes and a couple of Oscars and other awards and made a lot of money–and was also a great scandal from every point of view. We think it’s great, that it teaches very important things about “horror and moral terror,” and that its reflections on America and the Vietnam War are both insightful and unusual. Listen and share, friends–and let’s talk about the movie in the comments below!

ACF #31: Body Double


The podcast’s going back to Brian De Palma. My friend John Presnall and I are going to defend, from a conservative point of view, De Palma’s most indefensible sex and violence movie, Body Double. De Palma makes porn the mirror of Hollywood (the underground of Hollywood) and brings Hitchcock into the ’80s, with all the new scandals, but the same moralistic intention: Showing how society hides from evil and perpetuates it. De Palma criticizes the all-American ambition for success and popularity in order to defend man’s heroism. However vulgar, we all want to be a man and save the girl and beat the bad guy.

ACF#30: Taxi Driver


New episode! Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, which earned Robert de Niro another Oscar nomination right after winning for Godfather: Part II. Another ’70s political crisis story, another timely examination of individualism. Travis Bickle is a man who learns how corrupt society can become and we learn how he goes insane. So join my friend John Presnall and me for a ride through the nightmare that was ’70s New York City and let’s look at respectability, madness, and evil in America!

ACF#23 – The Godfather: Part III


Today, John Presnall and I conclude our trilogy of podcasts on The Godfather trilogy. We defend the greatness of the film and of the tragic conclusion. This is the best tragic work done in Hollywood in at least the last two generations and it deserves its fine reputation. But to understand its greatness requires to see how the third movie completes the story by a turn to moral realism. It begins to explain all the suffering we see throughout the trilogy. And to stir controversy, John and I compare the Corleone family to the Adams family, with a hat tip to historian Richard Brookhiser, America’s own Plutarch.

ACF#14: Carlito’s Way


New podcast, new interlocutor, and a new departure — defending gangster films as middlebrow! My friend John Presnall, from storm-beaten Houston, and I are also defending Brian De Palma from a conservative point of view and we’re introducing lawlessness studies as a way to get at the desire to free oneself, to be self-made, and to chase the American Dream. Carlito’s Way is the most self-reflective gangster film, one of the last memorable roles of Al Pacino and, get this, we’re arguing this is a superior movie to Scarface. We’re nothing if not fearless and we hope you’ll listen to and share our discussion wherever you can. Help me spread the gospel of Middlebrow, Ricochet! Hashtag as far as the eye can see!