Tag: pete spiliakos

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF PoMoCon #12: Plague Politics

 

Pete Spiliakos and I talk about politics in the age of the plague–what’s so insane about supply-side economics, what it means to think politically and prudentially, what the common good requires, and how to understand our weaknesses that we may deal with them. Fear is good, seriousness is required, preparing for the crisis unfolding, and planning for overcoming it is the sequence we need to go through. Pete and I have praise for Tucker Carlson and Sen. Tom Cotton, and a lot of criticism for everyone else.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF Middlebrow #23: Harold Ramis

 

Pete Spiliakos and I bring you a discussion about The Prophet of Trump, the most successful comedy writer of the ’80s, who just happened to suggest that a vulgar, loud, billionaire real estate developer (Rodney Dangerfield) or a snake-oil salesman who treats women shabbily (Bill Murray) might destroy our conservative and progressive elites. Listen, share, and comment, friends!

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF Middlebrow #15: Die Hard

 

My friend Pete Spiliakos and I are doing our 10th podcast and it’s about a movie on its 30th anniversary. Die Hard is well-loved and little talked about — we’re here to remedy that. We discuss the great everyman performance Bruce Willis put in and how director John McTiernan crafted the entire movie around him. With remarkable coherence, you get a view of the working class moral realism and virtues of American men and, from that perspective, of the arrogant incompetent of all sorts of institutions: Corporations, media, government, police, etc. We also talk at length about the social changes that have made action movies almost inconceivable and replaced working class heroes with oligarchs and mythical aristocrats, who alone seem to deserve our attention and billions of box office dollars… This is what our Middlebrow series is all about: How movies reflect society and also reflect on our ideas and beliefs.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF Middlebrow #10: The Last Jedi

 

New podcast, new ideas, new controversies! This week, Pete Spiliakos and I talk Star Wars. We pick apart The Last Jedi to show you what is expected of competent mediocrity; how hard it is to get plots, characters, their conflicts, and relationships right; and how important it is to do so. We talk about how the audience is supposed to react to various characters and developments, thus connecting emotions to ideas to develop themes about the education of a new generation of leaders. Properly done, TLJ would have been a good story reflecting the innocence and incompetence of Millennials and their confrontation with Boomers who are both mythical and catastrophic. This is what middlebrow art is like — if only we aspire to it…

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF Middlebrow #9: Justice League

 

My friend Pete Spiliakos and I bring you a discussion of one of the few truly interesting recent cinematic events, Justice League. This was an example of the conflict between artists and businessmen. Zack Snyder, one of the lonely few examplars of first-rate Hollywood talent, had his work destroyed by a studio Warner Bros / DC hellbent on suicide. Warner had the greatest team in Hollywood working on their superhero movies–Christopher Nolan (as writer and director, also with his brother Jonathan in the writing role) and Zack Snyder. The only men who have any grasp on the epic and the tragic as genres and insights. They also made billions of dollars for the studio. So naturally, the studio destroyed their work. Listen and marvel with us at the good, the bad, and the very bad, and the worse.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF Middlebrow #8: A Quiet Place

 

The podcast’s back with something new. There’s a horror movie atop the American box office; it’s made more than $100 million. What’s rarer still is that it’s for adults. Rarest of all, it dramatizes American middle class parents’ terror of the uncertainty surrounding their kids’ lives and futures. John Krasinski stars and also directed this remarkable success; Scott Beck and Bryan Woods wrote the screenplay (with him) and produced; and Emily Blunt gives the kind of performance that wins Oscars, if the Academy had any judgment. So my friend Pete and I are here to show how the movie reflects on American society and the good that art can do, if but people pay attention to it!

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF#19: Blade Runner 2049

 

This week, Pete and I complete our discussion of Blade Runner. We want especially to attract your attention to the shifts in the questions meant to define humanity. The original film featured replicants who thought they were human; now we see replicants who don’t think they’re human. Questions about soul, the interior, secretive part of the rational, mortal being that we are are replaced by questions of birth and funeral–getting at the family and religion, which define our humanity. We also talk about director Denis Villeneuve, whose previous movie, Arrival, was also very much pro-life.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF#18: Blade Runner

 

This week, the podcast is about Blade Runner. Pete Spiliakos has a few things to say you may not have heard before, starting with slavery in the New World. The old question debated by Bartolomeo de Las Casas in the case of the Indians comes up, in this instance, about the replicants: Do they have souls? I bring up the question of what scientific power does to our world in making it wholly artificial — the heavens are replicated on earth in this story, and it takes some guessing about whether humanity can survive the transformation.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. PoMoCon One: The GOP as Budding Oligarchy

 

Hello, folks, just in case you’re not fed up with hearing my political opinions, there’s a new venue for that! I’m bringing back the old PoMoCon brand, a term the late Peter Lawler so skillfully and humorously used to describe the properly Tocquevillian American conservative of the 21st century.

My friend Pete Spiliakos, another old PoMoCon hand, also a columnist over at First Things online and writer at NRO, is my first interlocutor. We talk about elite corruption in the GOP. Some thoughts you’ll encounter in our discussion:

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF #13 Political Conflict in Marvel and DC

 

I’m back with the second part of my long conversation with my friend Pete Spiliakos. We talked about girls becoming women in despite of society in ’80s movies last time. In the most surprising way, Pete picked horror movies to show social and psychological realism. Well, he hit it out of the park there, but then our conversation veered to the aesthetic, dramatic art and the political implications of the new business model of sequels and franchises. Like it or not, in an age of sequels and franchises, it’s no longer feasible to ignore the problem of sucky sequels.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF #12: Strong Women

 

Folks, the show is back — this is my second podcast with my friend Pete Spiliakos and he has another great idea to explore: Movie heroines of our times. First, we’re going back a generation to ask about the origins of these characters: Whatever happened with the last of the Boomers and the first of the Gen X-ers? We’re talking about the arrival of thrillers and horrors that thematize the problem of adulthood for young women. We start with Nancy, the heroine of Wes Craven’s Nightmare on Elm Street (1984); then go on to Laurie (played by Jaime Lee Curtis), the heroine of John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978); and then Sarah Connor, the famous heroine of James Cameron’s The Terminator (1984).

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Thoughts on The Terminator

 

Recently, director James Cameron started a public quarrel over what a strong woman looks like on screen. He’s angry that Wonder Woman, an obvious sexual objectification, should be considered a strong woman. It’s a step back for the movies! Well, you can imagine the woman who directed that movie did not take this kindly, nor decided discretion was the better part of valor… I know this is a very strange kind of controversy to come out of Hollywood, but these are strange times, and despite the silliness of it all, the question of how female protagonists face up to the world is important for American society in ways Hollywood used to reflect.

So says my friend Pete Spiliakos — we recorded a podcast on the DC movies seen through political philosophy — so we’re set to talk about strong women in film. He named his titles and, among them, The Terminator (1984). So you’re in for a treat for the next ACF movie podcast, as we see what a massive difference there is between the social situation of the earliest Boomers — see my recent movie essay on Nancy Meyers — and the very last Boomers, whose formative experiences were the late ’60s and the ’70s. Meanwhile, some thoughts you may not have encountered before on The Terminator, the movie that made Cameron and Schwarzenegger stars.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF #9: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman

 

Hello, folks, this week’s podcast completes last week’s discussion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a discussion of the DC superhero movies. My friend and PoMoCon coconspirator Pete Spiliakos joins me–he is a columnist at First Things and writes for NRO, too. You can take my word for it, he’s the kind of conservative we need to hear more of!

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