Cinecast Episode 277 – He’d Pass a Polygraph But He Ain’t Innocent

In which Andrew and Kurt Argo fuck ourselves trying to get at the pleasures and the frustrations of Benna-fleck’s latest film. We grade homework in the middle (lots of good choices in there). Then we encounter the same set of frustrations and pleasures in counting up the Seven Psychopaths in Martin McDonagh’s latest offbeat violent comedy. The Watchlist is mainly Kurt as he digs through a diverse trio of films (Bernie, Watchmen, The Living Daylights) before waxing rather prosaically (sorry folks) on the great George Carlin. We have a fun time chatting Joss Whedon’s “Firefly” to close out the show.

Thanks to Nat Almirall for this week’s poster promo sitting to the right. Yeah! (sorry, we had to censor it. Non-censored version can be found HERE.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!




To download the show directly, paste the following URL into your favorite downloader:

Full show notes are under the seats…

show content

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Flyway Film Festival
Toronto After Dark Festival
– Dark Shadows DVD giveaway winner (Joseph R)


GRADING HOMEWORK: (GPA spreadsheet – FALL 2012)

Rick Vance: Cowboy Bebop: The Movie
Sean Kelly: Batman Forever
Courtney Small: The Immortals
Robert Reineke: American Splendor
Ian Loring: Mean Girls
Mike Rot: A Perfect World
Ryan McNeil: Arsenic and Old Lace
Nat Almirall: Hell House and Ernest Scared Stupid
Lennart Andersson: Meet Me In St. Louis
Thomas Wishloff: “Halloween Town”

Seven Psychopaths


The Living Daylights
– “Shorts That Are Not Pants” (Marc’s recap)
– George Carlin stand-up

– “Firefly”

send us your favorite example of a “based on a true story” movie (and WHY)
DUE: Tuesday, October 30th by 5pm EST

WIRED article on “real” Argo

No show next week but we’ll be back the following week for Halloween and the muchly divisive:
Cloud Atlas
The Sessions

Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, or email us: (general)

Andrew: Twitter | G+ | Letterboxd | Pinterest
Kurt: Twitter | G+ | Letterboxd
Matt: Twitter | LetterBoxd | Where the Long Tail Ends
RowThree: Twitter | G+ | Letterboxd | Pinterest



  1. Cowboy Bebop & The Movie is Firefly & The Movie before they existed.

    And Bebop is better.

    26 Half Hour Episodes
    1 Movie
    Dub is better than the Sub.

    You guys will both LOVE it.

    • I’m not a huge fan of anime, but I have to admit that Cowboy Bebop is one of the greatest things every made period. I love that so much. And, I agree with Antho, the tv series is much better than the film. Everybody should check this show out, it’s so awesome.

    • Also now having listened to the entire Firefly discussion

      Bebop pays off every character and all the themes in a single season and it does it beautifully, with a main plot that snakes its way throughout the shadows popping up in and out where appropriate.


  2. This is the second week in a row I have to skip the main review because I missed the film.

    Ironically, I skipped ARGO because I was catching up with TAKEN 2. Because of Toronto After Dark, I probably won’t get around to watching ARGO until early November.

  3. Also, I’ve heard many people, not just Canadians, who pronounce Ben Affleck’s name with the wrong emphasis. Don’t feel bad Kurt (I know you don’t care anyway).

  4. I probably should’ve been more specific with my homework submission, since Halloween plays a longer role in the film than I described (i.e. Alfred gives candy to the trick or treaters and later Two-Face and The Riddler pretend to be trick or treating and knock Alfred out when he opens the door).

  5. Kurt is literally being “The Paper Badge” critic from For Your Consideration in his Argo review.

    “Paperwork! Where was the paperwork!”

    • No no no no Serenity is different because it continues the plot of Firefly show, the Cowboy Bebop movie is a SIDE STORY and Pierrot Le Fou isn’t filler it is all about the character and the themes that have been building throughout the series.

      I can’t fathom recommending people start with an episode near the end of a rather short series.

  6. I too must fast-forward through Firefly’s opening song. I don’t think tv shows have ever been able to top Married With Children’s opening song.

  7. 3 more things to cap all the Watchmen stuff.

    1. If the movie took the comic as storyboards then they are blind because that looks like no Dave Gibbons comic I ever saw.

    2. Kurt you will probably like the Director’s Cut but hate the Ultimate cut, the Black Freighter stuff is the most jarring thing possible because it is badly done and Gerard Butler is the Pirate guy and it gets none of the reason for having it in there that it does in the comic with the juxtaposition and the themes.

    3. You Kurt Halfyard are an enigma and it is all related to why Adrian doesn’t work at all.

    You called him the bad guy and that specifically means to me that the film was compromised to make it more mass market friendly blockbuster by making Adrian the ‘bad guy’, Watchmen is supposed to be a story that is told from no view point so that you are free to make your own judgements on who is doing the right things based on the facts put on front of you. Hollywood took that and made it pure Black & White superhero movie with some other smaller plots spliced on. You should hate this movie. Which makes it all the more interesting.

    (I am now realizing I could talk for hours about that movie.)

  8. After a couple rewatches of Avengers, I got the itch to finally go through Firefly after owning it for several years. I’ve seen Serenity. I had a couple times where I watched 2 episodes and not-so-much gave up as just stopped. So I’m going in from the beginning again.

    I’ve seen one terrrrrrible episode (“Safe”) and one so-so (“Bushwhacked”) but otherwise it’s fine. But I still don’t get the love for the show, and my confusion is mainly because the characters aren’t strong and neither are the actors. A few of them are just plain terrible (looking at you, Summer Glau). Mal is to Han Solo what Leader-1 is to Optimus Prime, and he’s probably the best character.

    As a whole I have enough to keep going but generally I have a lot of the same problems with Firefly that I do with Whedon in general. More concerned with being clever than building character, so those characters are never much more than thinly sketched types with nice faces and hair that is never one strand out of place. Buffy to me only overcame this with the amount of episodes it had, and a few better actors. I still hate Cabin in the Woods on this level, especially the stoner kid which is still probably my least favorite character of 2012.

    And as for his dialogue. Whedon can write levity… but I don’t find his writing funny at all.

    So I’m trying to figure out why Avengers works well enough for me but this other stuff doesn’t come even close. Well, Avengers has much better actors and pre-built characters. Maybe for me it’s Whedon’s other skill sets with story construction and character dynamics that work for me. I don’t know. I think my overall Whedon opinion is some shade of grey, but if we have to be binary for the sole sake of argument, I defy the Nerd God.

    • I am on purpose not revisiting Firefly because it was the first Whedon thing I had seen and it was like 6 years ago and I feel that going back to it now I will “see the strings” and the entire thing with crumble.

    • I somewhat agree with what you’re saying Goon.

      I gave “Firefly” 4/5 rating on my Netflix and my girlfriend sees that at the end of every episode and gives me shit for not giving it a 5/5. Well, the answer lies in your description above. The characters are fun and witty (and I do laugh quite a lot throughout each episode), but I don’t find them particularly deep and it’s partly because of the structure of the show. If each episode would continue on and on like most of today’s dramas do, then I think we would be more inclined to latch on to these characters.

      As it stands, if one of them died I would be upset. Not because I care one lick about them as a character, but because it’s one less character to crack jokes and one less person for the other characters to riff off of.

      So yeah, in the end it just comes down to whether or not you enjoy the levity of the dialogue. If it doesn’t make you smile and chuckle nearly all the way through each episode (watching a lovers quarrel during a torture scene for example), then the show probably isn’t doing much for you.

      Serenity sort of alleviates this problem if I remember correctly. Which is why it could’ve been one of the best seasons of television ever if it hadn’t been cancelled.

    • jesus and see Meet Me in St Louis already! I was thinking of it as a choice as well… while the Halloween bit is small it stands out because of how weird it is. In what is otherwise a charming Hollywood musical, suddenly there is a scene of kids causing fires in the streets as part of the tradition of Halloween that I never knew growing up and might be peculiar to St Louis. There seemed to be no parents on the streets, just Lord of the Flies for one night.

  9. Am I alone in that I have never really been able to get into James Bond at all? The series always feels conservative because it is such a huge franchise so risks are permitted but always within limits. I am looking forward to Skyfall because that trailer is pretty fantastic.

    I guess it is fighting an uphill battle because to me the best Spy fiction ever created has come from the mind of Hideo Kojima in the Metal Gear Solid series and Bond can not keep up with that.

    • You are not alone in that. Most of the Bond films are pretty crappy, but it is undeniable the effect they have on popular culture, or the basic essence of the character – and the popularity of that.

      The Living Daylights is for me, easily in the best 3 films starring the character.

    • I’ve seen all of the Bond films EXCEPT Dr. No for some reason, and a lot of them run together for me.

      For a chunk of the ones up to the 80s, I mostly have vague memories of ones being crappy (Diamonds Are Forever), ones being good (You Only Live Twice) and then for other ones just remembering moments, like Christopher Walken saying (in his voice of course) “I’m at my best… when I’m in the SADDLE!”, Lazenby skiing, Jaws in space. The ones I remember better and like more are Goldfinger and Man With the Golden Gun. The Dalton ones are a bit underrated but Dalton is my least favorite Bond, too sleazy. I think Tomorrow Never Dies is pretty good.

      For me, yeah, if I had to pick 5 favorites its Goldfinger, Golden Gun, Casino Royale, GoldenEye, and The Spy Who Loved Me.

      I’m pretty sure the majority of Bond movies hover around 6.7-6.8 on IMDB.

      • Live and Let Die is fantastic, too — Jane Seymour gets my vote for hottest Bond girl; I love Yaphet Koto as the bad guy (and he has the best on-screen death), along with the witch-doctor looking guy (and a great twist at the end) and the guy with the mechanical hand; and the fact that it’s essentially Bond vs. an entire race — they don’t even try to hide it.

    • The theme songs alone justify the continual existence of James Bond. Duran Duran’s and A-ha’s Bond’s themes are incredible pop songs. And, Andrew James, your boy Jack White is responsible for the second worst theme song of all time, only behind Madonna’s piece of shit, pop song.

      • Top 10 Bond themes
        Nancy Sinatra “You Only Live Twice”
        Shirley Bassey “Diamonds Are Forever”
        Carly Simon “Nobody Does it Better”
        Garbage “The World is Not Enough”
        Louis Armstrong “We Have All The Time In The World” *secondary theme
        Paul McCartney “Live And Let Die”
        Shirley Bassey “Goldfinger”
        a-ha “The Living Daylights”
        Duran Duran “A View To a Kill”
        Tom Jones “Thunderball”

        Least favorite 5:
        Madonna “Die Another Day”
        Sheena Easton “For Your Eyes Only”
        Rita Coolidge “All Time high”
        Gladys Knight “License to Kill”
        Sheryl Crow “Tomorrow Never Dies”

        U2 wrote the “GoldenEye” theme and while they did it FOR Turner, I think they should have done it themselves. It’s so obviously a U2 song.

        • On Her Majesty’s Secret Service has the best score – the main theme is incredible. I love the Propellorheads remix too (although it probably sounds quite dated now).

          I’m one of the few people that actually didn’t mind Sheryl Crow’s theme either.

          • Yeah, the Sheryl Crowe one wasn’t too bad. Madonna’s “Die Another Day” was also okay, but I think Madge missed a trick in not going for the full orchestral ballad treatment, which would have also have been a good path for her to continue on down, career wise – becoming the grande dame of sophisti-pop.
            As it was, D.A.D. was at the time she was entering her desperate-fear-of-aging stage and so went all ultra-modern and glitchy instead.

            I thought the last two Bond theme songs have been the worst. Completely unsuitable. The new Adele song (which sounds like Lana Del Ray singing “Diamonds Are Forever”) puts things back on track nicely.

      • I forgot to mention that, my major frustration with the series is it has style in SPADES (I love 90% of the intros) in the promotion and the credits then the films actually start and they feel workman.

        I want that style to seep into the entire movie but I know that it can’t happen.

    • Being British, where Bond is an institution, I’ve grown up with him and don’t care about the formulaic, corporate nature of it. I even enjoy the crappy films to an extent. It’s probably just nostalgia, but the cheesy lines and over the top set pieces are perfect Sunday afternoon fodder. I would never rate any high up my list of all time favourites (other than Goldfinger maybe) but I’ll always happily watch them. It’s my comfort blanket, my junk food.

  10. Saw Seven Psychopaths. I managed to like the movie but also be disappointed. It’s a movie I’d watch several more times, but also think Kurt is right about in many ways. It’s a smart movie, but not nearly as smart as it thinks it is, and at times that comes across as kind of obnoxious.

    • I don’t see where the lack of sympathy people have with Colin Farrel comes from. I don’t think he is supposed to be sympathetic that adds to the comedy for me.

      Not smug or obnoxious just hilarious.

      • He’s not sympathetic, which I wouldn’t think about if his character was interesting… His character just doesn’t connect in any way at all.

  11. Hi, just reading over some of the comments about Seven Psychopaths – haven’t seen it yet but it should be great with all the great actors in the movie. Can’t wait to watch.

  12. @Kurt

    In the same way that Jay defends artful manipulation of truth in documentaries in order to heighten the cinematic means of communicating ideas, I am likewise a supporter of the manipulation of truth in so-called ‘Based on True Story’ fictional films. To me I do not see the difference between the license offered the director of The Impostor, where it goes in the final part of the movie, and something like the decisions with the Impossible and Argo to accentuate the suspense by artificial, visual cues. Why this insistence of verisimilitude? I like that Argo is not United 93 but uses the aesthetic of it to make what is a suspenseful story more visceral. I like that The Impossible can draw me in to the search for family members by perhaps, inventing ways to keep them apart. It doesn’t bother me if it is not accurate, so long as it works. For you there seems to be a stubborn inability to go with the flow of the movie, upset by its transgressions of a perceived decorum, of a level of sophistication that movies, seemingly ALL movies, need to be operating at. All except maybe the oldies, that are given the license modern films are not. Argo is old-fashion movie-making and for me it worked wonderfully. It sells its messages via entertainment, and with a story of Iran-American relationship, this is a good way to make the medicine go down: Americans are taught some of their history while not feeling lectured to.

    • I don’t think ALL movies need to operate at that level, but the difference with Argo, Rot, is that is sets up the tone as being sophisticated and gritty (ala U93 or Bloody Sunday – actually CARLOS might be a better example).

      Then it goes into whacky “Get Shorty” mode for a time and then becomes a very cliche “nick of time” thriller. So the problem with Argo is not that it doesn’t do things well, the problem is that it does too many different things well enough that just don’t jive together (i.e. tonally it’s a mess).

      • I felt like the first chunk of the film was setting the history and there you have meshing with documented footage, catching the audience up on what the circumstances were around the story they want to tell, and then once that part is told, they commit to an old-fashion suspense caper. Like tight focus onto a tv broadcast and then pulling back into a Hollywood movie. I didn’t have any problem tonally. I agree, it is not a masterpiece or even as great as the 70’s films it evokes aesthetically, but there is enough there to just sit back and enjoy.

        • We liked the film. I agree, I enjoyed it. But there are things nagging in the back of my mind which pull me out, particularly in the final 3rd.

  13. ARGO spoilers **** ARGO spoilers ****ARGO spoilers **** ARGO spoilers ****ARGO spoilers **** ARGO spoilers ****ARGO spoilers **** ARGO spoilers ****ARGO spoilers **** ARGO spoilers ****ARGO spoilers **** ARGO spoilers ****

    Regarding how they treat the maid, showing her as a refugee going to Iraq, to me that was meant to be in contrast with how the US deals with the Shah. The one politician says that they need to send a message to the world that if you work for us you are protected and that is the whole crux of the conflict, them protecting the Shah… yet the maid is, in her own way, an asset to the government, but because she is not visible in anyway to be politically necessary she is discarded. Thought that was a nicely played critique of how in American politics they never seem to understand or care about root causes of conflict only fighting the symptoms. Also draws attention to the future Iraq conflict as if to say it never ends.

    • ARGO spoilers **** ARGO spoilers ****ARGO spoilers **** ARGO spoilers ****ARGO spoilers **** ARGO spoilers ****ARGO spoilers **** ARGO spoilers ****ARGO spoilers **** ARGO spoilers ****ARGO spoilers **** ARGO spoilers ***

      Agreed. I cannot remember if my comment was a criticism, or simply a, whoa, wasn’t the maid (a hero in the story) thrown under the bus!

      • Indeed she was. Also, I see where both you and Andrew were going with your criticism, but I was having too much fun watching it and the direction was so tight, that I was totally just caught up in the ride. The film was fucking tense and I think all the credit for to Affleck for his monster directorial skills.

        • The critical debate with Argo is, “Does the pure skill of its execution forgive a number of its questionable decisions in terms of how to frame the fictional movie with the real events?”

          • ARGO spoilers **** ARGO spoilers ****ARGO spoilers **** ARGO spoilers ****ARGO spoilers **** ARGO spoilers ****ARGO spoilers **** ARGO spoilers ****ARGO spoilers **** ARGO spoilers ****ARGO spoilers **** ARGO spoilers ***

            Like the whole “chasing the plane down as it’s taking off” climax? It’s a very Hollywood moment, for sure, but I suppose for the sake of having a payoff after 1 hr 45 mins of building tension, it was an appropriate, if not predictable, alteration to the actual events.

            Had the climax simply been the group being taken into the private room before being cleared to be let back on the plane, most would have found the end justifiably anticlimactic.

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