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Best Picture This

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Best Picture This

Mike Cavaliere & Brian McMillan

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Every Best Picture nominee of the 21st century. Join Mike and Brian as they reevaluate the films and Academy Awards of the past, talk trivia and top fives, and address the big question: "Would you keep or kick the Academy's picks for Best Picture?" All that and more on Best Picture This -- where it's always Oscar season!
 
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Kraig Rasmussen, Monkeygong Productions

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A compare and contrast podcast of films from present to past. Showcasing movies connected by genre, creators, personal themes & social relevance, we discover the elements that make movies rewatchable (or not). Hosted by artist-filmmakers and longtime friends, Kraig Rasmussen & Seamus Smith.
 
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show series
 
Mike and Brian celebrate their 100th episode by kicking off a brand new miniseries -- this time on the films of 2007! First up: the momentum- and mood-forward "Michael Clayton," a Best Picture-nominated corporate thriller starring George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson and Tilda Swinton. In this centennial episode, Mike and Brian discuss the Oscars' ongoing…
 
What was the best movie of 2006? The Academy awarded that title to director Martin Scorsese's "The Departed," but in this series finale episode, Mike and Brian shake things up. They recap the year that was, rank the nominees for Best Picture, kick the ones that don't belong and discuss their personal top fives. www.bestpicturethis.com Want to curat…
 
Released in between "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight," "The Prestige" stands out as a bold, personal choice for director Christopher Nolan. In this episode, Mike and Brian talk about Nolan's obsession with obsession, magic as a standin for cinema, the all-consuming power of creativity and if Nolan's film about magic and magicians deserves a pla…
 
Is "The Departed" Martin Scorsese's best movie? It's the only one of his films that has won Best Picture at the Oscars, and the only one for which he's won for Best Directing. So it's gotta be his best! ... Right? In this episode, Mike and Brian put on bad Bostonian accents to talk identity, machismo, pulpy genre, love triangles, self-seriousness a…
 
Director Clint Eastwood released two films in 2006, both about a pivotal battle in World War II -- except, one movie ("Flags of Our Fathers") was told from the American perspective, while the other ("Letters from Iwo Jima") explored the Japanese experience. In this episode, Mike and Brian discuss what analyzing the two movies through the scope of t…
 
Director Alfonso Cuaron's "Children of Men," starring Clive Owen, Julianne Moore and Michael Caine, is full of stunning action sequences shot entirely in long takes. But is the movie more than visual spectacle? In this episode, Mike and Brian talk technical achievements in cinematography, biblical and prog rock allusions, and trivia, before decidin…
 
Nominated for Best Picture and winner of Best Screenplay of 2006, "Little Miss Sunshine," directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, was a surprise smash hit, both critically and commercially. But has its charm worn off in the 16 years since its release? In this episode, Mike and Brian talk screenwriting "tricks," the power of an ensemble cast …
 
Is "Pan's Labyrinth" director Guillermo del Toro's best movie? In the years since its release in 2006, the Academy has embraced this director, awarding him Best Picture for "The Shape of Water" (2017) and nominating his "Nightmare Alley" in 2021. Although "Pan's" was only recognized with awards for its visuals (cinematography, art, makeup), the bea…
 
Director Alejandro González Iñárritu's Best Picture-nominated "Babel," starring Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Rinko Kikuchi and others, explores cultural divides through several converging narratives. In this episode, Mike and Brian hone in on how Inarritu uses the power of misery to connect his characters, they dig into the movie's deeper meanings, t…
 
Can a "messy" movie also be "great"? Adam Sandler's career leading up to "Click," in 2006, was a defined by slapstick comedies made for teens, with only occasional dabblings in more "serious" fare ("Spanglish" and "Punch-Drunk Love"). "Click," however, tried to do both: be dumb fun, and make the audience feel something real. In this episode, Mike a…
 
When news broke that Robert Pattinson, the sparkly vampire from the "Twilight" franchise, was cast to play Bruce Wayne in the latest Batman film, some fanboys were in a tizzy. What those fans might not have realized, however, is that, post-"Twilight," Pattinson broke away from the mainstream to make a series of art films (like "Good Time" and "The …
 
Dame Helen Mirren won the Oscar for Best Actress in playing Queen Elizabeth II in director Stephen Frears' "The Queen," which was also nominated for Best Picture in 2006. But how does the film stand up to other biopics released in the early 2000s? In this episode, Mike and Brian dig into how the film dialogues with grief, public relations, leadersh…
 
A remake of the 1947 film by the same name starring Tyrone Power, director Guillermo del Toro's "Nightmare Alley" earned four Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture. In this episode, Mike and Brian analyze the movie's film noir roots and art direction, break down Bradley Cooper's character's motivations and dark past, and then decide if …
 
Director Adam McKay's star-studded "Don't Look Up" (Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchet, Jonah Hill) earned four Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture. But is the Netflix original feature a legitimate contender for the best film of 2021? In this episode, Mike and Brian examine the fine line between satire a…
 
Director Jane Campion's first feature in 12 years, "The Power of the Dog," based on the book by Thomas Savage, is shaping up to the be the darling of Oscar season, boasting a total of 12 nominations, including one for Best Picture. But does it really live up to the hype? In this SPOILER-FILLED episode, Mike and Brian analyze the performances by Ben…
 
In spite of releasing simultaneously in theaters and streaming on HBO Max, director Denis Villeneuve's sci-fi epic DUNE performed well enough with audiences for a sequel to already be confirmed. The film also impressed critics, earning a slew of Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture. In this episode, Mike and Brian dig into the film's d…
 
What was the best movie of 2005? The Academy awarded that title to director Paul Haggis' "Crash," but in this series finale episode, Mike and Brian shake things up. They recap the year that was, rank the nominees for Best Picture, kick the ones that don't belong and discuss their personal top fives. Plus, trivia, Golden Takes and more. www.bestpict…
 
Before "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," before "Looper," Rian Johnson broke onto the scene with a micro-budget neo-noir starring Joseph Gordon Levitt. BRICK put the young director on the map. In this episode, Mike and Brian analyze the movie's gritty style and debate if and how its genre subversion serves greater thematic purposes, they nerd out to the …
 
What was it about director Paul Haggis' CRASH that resonated with the Academy in 2005? In this episode, Mike and Brian dig into the film that won the Oscar for Best Picture, dissect its twisting narratives, and then decide whether it holds up as a top-five film of the year. www.bestpicturethis.com Want to choose an movie for a future episode? BECOM…
 
In focusing on broad political issues, Steven Spielberg's "Munich" (2005) feels like an outlier in his filmography -- but it's not without its stylistic flourishes. In this episode, Mike and Brian talk what makes a film "classy" or "difficult," they dig into the movie's themes of cognitive dissonance and narratives, then decide whether "Munich" wil…
 
Comic book movies can take many forms, but 2005's hyper-stylized neo-noir "Sin City," directed by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller (with a cameo by Quentin Tarantino), is its own beast, using digital video to create a cinematic world that was less inspired by the graphic novels as much as it was an extension of them. In this episode, Mike and Bria…
 
Director Christopher Nolan set out to make a new kind of comic book movie with "Batman Begins" -- the "adult" hero flick -- backed by an all-star cast of Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Cillian Murphy and more. But what exactly was it about his approach that made this particular version of the Dark Knight so compelling? …
 
After director Peter Jackson wrapped "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, winning a cool 11 Oscars (including Best Picture) for the final installment, he was essentially given a blank check. He cashed it in to make "King Kong," a $207 million passion project. Did the investment pay dividends? In this episode, Mike and Brian talk spectacle, special effe…
 
The culture was not kind to George Lucas' Star Wars prequels when they released in theaters, nearly 20 years after the end of his iconic trilogy. But has time helped us to see these movies in a new light? In this episode, Mike and Brian talk camp and search for the line dividing bad writing from bad performance. They talk expectation vs. reality, t…
 
Woody Allen's most exciting release in nearly a decade, "Match Point" marked a new phase in the writer/director's long career -- this one, for the first time ever, taking place outside of New York. In this episode, Mike and Brian talk faith, comfort zones, Scarlett Johansson, trivia and, of course, fight about morality, before deciding whether or n…
 
Some of the best movies in any given year don't earn Oscar nods. Case in point: director David Cronenberg's "A History of Violence." In this episode, Mike and Brian dig into the movie's exploration of identity and corruption, and wrestle with what it might be saying about viewers' own appetite for bloodshed. They talk Viggo Mortensen's post-"The Lo…
 
"Ever since I was a child, folks have thought they had me pegged ... and they're always wrong," said Philip Seymour Hoffman, playing Truman Capote, in Bennett Miller's 2005 Best Picture nominee. So who is the real Truman Capote? In this episode, Mike and Brian dig into the complexities of this character and explore Miller's approach to the biopic. …
 
Director Ang Lee's "Brokeback Mountain" made serious waves when it released in 2005, bringing on a glut of Oscar nominations (eight), headlines and satirical tributes. The cultural discussion surrounding the movie was loud, but what about the movie itself? In this episode, Mike and Brian dig into its best moments, debate the Oscar race for Best Act…
 
A new movie year is upon us! We kiick off our series on the films of 2005 with George Clooney's "Good Night, and Good Luck.," which takes a just-the-facts approach to Edward R. Murrow's attempt to take down Senator Joe McCarthy. In this episode, Mike and Brian debate the validity of patriotism as a criterion for Oscar consideration, talk historical…
 
What was the best movie of 2004? The Academy awarded that title to Clint Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby," but in this series finale episode, Mike and Brian shake things up. They recap the year that was, rank the Academy's picks for Best Picture, kick the ones that don't belong and discuss their personal top 5s. Plus, trivia, Golden Takes and more.…
 
Coming off of "Mystic River" in 2003, Clint Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby" marked two straight years of Best Picture nominations -- this time, however, he went home with the big prize, plus a trophy for Best Director. In this episode, Mike and Brian analyze the movie's best moments, talk faith and sacrifice (which leads to an extended conversatio…
 
Fresh off the heels of "Gangs of New York," Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio continued their collaboration in 2004, this time with a biopic on capitalist hero/film director/aircraft tycoon Howard Hughes. In this episode, Mike and Brian dig into DiCaprio's performance and moviestar persona, Scorsese's directoral style and whether or not "The Av…
 
Breakups are hard. But don't worry! Lacuna, the memory-erasing company from "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," is here to help. In this episode, Mike and Brian take a trip down memory lane as they dive into this non-Best Picture nominee of 2004, directed by Michel Gondry and written by Charlie Kaufman. IThey debate the movie's message, examin…
 
Director Marc Forster's follow-up to "Monster's Ball," "Finding Neverland" earned seven Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture, in 2004. But how does this biopic about J.M. Barrie, the creator of "Peter Pan," hold up 17 years later? In this episode, Mike and Brian debate what qualities make tearjerkers cross over into feeling manipulativ…
 
Grab a drink (not Merlot) and meet us in wine country. It's SIDEWAYS day! In this episode, Mike and Brian revisit director Alexander Payne's grape juice-stained Best Picture nominee, starring Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh. They explore the big power of small moments of characterization in screenwriting, question …
 
Happy Halloween! With spooky season now in full swing, Mike and Brian throw out the usual format to dig into three of the big horror releases of 2004: director James Wan's SAW M. Night Shyamalan's THE VILLAGE and shark-thriller OPEN WATER, directed by Chris Kentis. They talk genre rules, the power of twist endings and which of these three scary mov…
 
Horror movie month is in full swing! To celebrate, we look back at zombie-comedy "Shaun of the Dead" (2004), directed by Edgar Wright, whose new film, "Last Night in Soho," releases Oct. 29. In this episode, Mike and Brian explore the impact "Shaun" made on the horror genre, dig into its best moments and discuss its chances of contending for a top-…
 
Strike up the band, because we're kicking off a brand new miniserieis -- this time on the films of 2004! In this episode, Mike and Brian reevaluate director Taylor Hackford's Best Picture-nominated musical biopic, "Ray," which landed Jamie Foxx a Best Actor Oscar. They debate the importance of staying true to the facts in movies about historical fi…
 
For our 3rd "Super Anti-hero" film, friend of the show, cartoonist Alex Schumacher joins us to chat about the 1994 Jim Carrey Blockbuster. Where did we stand on it then, how has it aged, and how have we aged, considering this movie is 30 years old?! WE chat about the then cutting edge CGI, the extreme 90s-ness, and ask a few vital questions about t…
 
What was the best movie of 2003? In this miniseries finale episode, Mike and Brian recap the year that was, rank the Academy's picks for Best Picture, kick the ones that don't belong and discuss their personal top 5s. Plus, trivia, Golden Takes and more. www.bestpicturethis.com Want to curate a future episode? BECOME A PATRON. Agree or disagree wit…
 
The final installment in director Peter Jackson's epic fantasy trilogy, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" proved to be the one film of 2003 to rule them all, sweeping the Oscars and blurring the lines separating "geek" movie from prestige picture. But how does it hold up nearly two decades later? In this episode, Mike and Brian talk g…
 
Mixing drama with documentary, and live-action with animation, "American Splendor" (2003), directed by Shari Springer and Robert Pulcini, feels much more inspired by the art and attitude of comic book writer Harvey Pekar than by his actual life. And that's a good thing. In this episode, Mike and Brian dig into the biopic subgenre, talk Paul Giamatt…
 
The Wachowski's sequel to "The Matrix" was a box office smash, but reactions were decidedly mixed. Even many critics who reviewed the film positively included qualifiers about its geekiness, special effects and religious iconography. So what do we think nearly 20 years later? In this episode, Mike and Brian set out on a hero's journey of their own …
 
One of our first guests ever returns to discuss James Gunn's new DCEU film, and get mercilessly teased by us... because we have a reputation to uphold. We talk about the many creative angles and depths of this murderous antihero romp, as well as the gallows humor and many Easter eggs common to all of Gunn's movies. Plus we actually get deep on the …
 
A horror movie being nominated for Best Picture? Yeah, right. In spite of the Academy's long-running resentment of the genre, however, director Danny Boyle's don't-call-it-a-zombie movie is undoubtably one of the most important films of 2003, making way for a wave of low-budget horror films and reinvigorating the zombie subgenre. In this episode, M…
 
Everyone is turning colors in this week's Patron's Choice bonus episode, on 1998's "Pleasantville," directed by Gary Ross. Mike and Brian talk repression and opression, best moments, trivia, and then compare "Pleasantville" to Ross' follow-up, the Best Picture-nominated "Seabiscuit." www.bestpicturethis.com Thanks to Maddie for putting this movie o…
 
Comedian Stevie Rae Brown joins us to kick off our new "Super Anti-Heroes" block, talking about the latest MCU entry in a deeply nerdy and hilarious chat. We dig into characters, Easter Eggs, action direction, and all the MCU context you could possibly want. Plus, lots of games, and maybe a couple things you've never thought about before. Please ra…
 
Charlize Theron won the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Aileen Wuornos in director Patty Jenkins "Monster." But maybe most interesting about the movie is how Jenkins manipulates our sympathies, constantly threading the needle between compassion and condemnation. In this episode, Mike and Brian explore how Jenkins uses contradictions to crea…
 
Tobey Maguire was riding high after starring in 1999 Best Picture nominee "The Cider House Rules" and playing Peter Parker in Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man," and now he's jockeying for another Oscar in director Gary Ross's horse racing drama, "Seabiscuit." In this episode, Mike and Brian talk underdog movies, the power of efficient editing, trivia and wh…
 
Welcome to another episode of The Morality Hour, with Mike and Brian! Director Clint Eastwood's complex exploration of violence and justice in 2003's "Mystic River" invites the viewer down a rabbit hole of moral gray area, and Mike and Brian take the bait. They debate the "message" behind this six-time Academy Award nominee, which won Sean Penn and…
 
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