Visionary director, Andrea Arnold, is one of Alex and Nick’s favorite filmmakers. The guys break down all of Arnold’s film work and discuss filming in the 4:3 aspect ratio, Shia LaBeouf, Riley Keough, Oscar-winning short films, working with unknown actors, and so much more.
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Hey, everyone, welcome to what are you watching? I'm Alex Withrow, and I'm joined by my best man, Nick Dostal. How you doing there, American, honey? Hi. I'm excited to be here. For this one. This one's great. Yeah, I'm very excited because we, you know, we were going to initially end our previous episode, our favorite movies by women about women with a dedicated section to Andrea Arnold. And then we're like, Why don't we just break this out and do make it its own episode? Because this is one of our favorite directors that we share. You know, we have such an equal admiration for her. We love her work. We're going to talk about it all today. But just getting into Andrea Arnold here, tell me your general thoughts on her. She's got to be the the grittiest and I mean this word with like all of the best intention, grimy, biased. It's a neorealism and just a visceral look at how she sees the world. Yeah, it's from the streets. It's from these dirty homes, these awful kitchens, these. It's a very, very specific feeling. And look that she has to all of her movies that I think is just I don't think anyone else really captures it quite the way that she does. And you and I have talked about how when it comes to men directing or men's general sort of characters about women, the opposite is when a female director is creating male characters. Mm hmm. I think she might be the best. She's fantastic at it. Yeah. Yeah, that's a great point. Part of the reason why we did the women directed movies for women about women is because we are so curious and interested in for ever interested in the female experience because we know what the men is. That's just who we are. We're guys. Sure. Yeah. Been there, done that. Yeah, exactly. So to see a female filmmaker speak so truthfully and such a range of male characters, I'm like, she just hits the nail on the head for as good as they are and as awful as they can be. They're. They're just so genuine. So that's a really good way to end that statement because I agree with everything you just said, but as good as they are or as awful as they can be and almost all of her characters could be described as such to one degree or. Another, the exact. She is a director who tries to paint in the canvas of real life. She's really, really interested in natural realism down to the way she photographs. You know, there's there's no fancy like crane shots or drone shots. No, it's all very, very grounded filmmaking. And all of her characters live in the gray. They all have flaws in every single movie that you watch of hers. You're going to be mad at one point at the person that we're supposed to be identifying with because they are the lead character, or maybe not even the lead. But you're like, What are you doing? Yeah, you know, as a movie viewer, you might be watching and judgment go, I wouldn't make those decisions, but I would also venture a guess that everyone watching these movies has made mistakes in real life, that when you're explaining them, don't really make sense to anyone else. And then you look back and you're like, Shit, why did I do that? I'm not saying I'm not equating the mistakes I've made to some of these to what some of her characters do. But we all make mistakes. We're all flawed. And I love that she shows everyone really with no judgment. No, that's what's so cool, including the men. And there are so many of these films who do bad shit, very, very bad shit. But she's still in the way they are depicted. It's just. You're just watching it. We are more like a voyeur than anything. And that's. Oh, God, it's just one aspect of her that I love so much. There's no point in any of her characters, even in their most awful. There's never a point where there's no coming back from this except for there's one. There's only one that I can think of. We'll talk about it. But but I think that that was also intentionally done on her part. Yeah. There's there is empathy. There is space for like, fuck, I don't know. This is a tricky one, you know, like that type of yeah. That type of relationship to the character that you're watching. And she's, she's fucking brilliant, man. One of the reasons why these films feel so real and why they are from the streets, as you said, is because these are the streets she is from. She was born in Kent, England, and grew up on a council estate, which is England's term for like housing projects. But she grew up in a council state very similar to the one depicted in Fish Tank. So she knows what she's doing, she knows what she's putting on screen. And then just her interest in art and film leads her to study with the American Film Institute Conservatory in Los Angeles. Oh, yeah, which is really cool. That's really interesting. And that's how she's met a bunch of popular filmmakers. We talked a lot about Barry Jenkins on our last episode and how important her work has been to his work. But in general, over her career. This is a filmmaker who has won the jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival three times. You could kind of call that like second place, but it's still quite an honor. She's won an Oscar for Best Live Action short film. She was 45 years old when she directed her first feature film, I Love It. And she's a huge champion of film festivals and indie filmmakers, like a young Barry Jenkins. She's been a jury president on so many different festivals and this is a woman who has taken all of the context she saw in life and that she's lived. And that's what she wants to put on screen. Now, one of the things that sets her so apart as a filmmaker is the style we've been referencing. That's like boots on the ground, you know, the cameras often at eye level, whoever she decides her main character is in her films. We are with that person. We're just there, like the cameras right next to them. We rarely leave their side. In one instance for the entire film, it's a cow, and we never leave that cow side. Like there's no master shot to show us this farm or anything. It's so, so unique and so interesting. And she has a style and a voice as a filmmaker that I don't know, I think of. Ken Loach is the biggest the biggest one here, really famous British filmmaker. He's won the Palme d'Or twice. He directed casts I Daniel Blake ton of stuff. But even like there's some Michael Haneke in here, there's some Lars von Trier in terms of her visual realism, she's also influenced people like Noah Baumbach, Steve McQueen, so many more. Then the biggest thing I think my biggest selling point to you when we first started talking about Andrea Arnold is that she is a huge fan of the four three aspect ratio. So what that means to non nerds is for three is think of it like an old television that was a square. You're basically presenting a square image. So if you are watching one of her movies like Fish Tank on your widescreen television, you're going to have those black bars on the sides, not on the top and bottom of the screen, but on the sides. And we're going to talk about why she does this. But let's just start here. We're talking about her style of filmmaking, this glorious four three aspect ratio. I mean, I love four three just because, like, I feel like there's just no other better way that you can just communicate the idea that we are stuck or we I mean, it can mean a lot of things. I mean, it's all really however you want to use it, but you can use it to convey claustrophobia. You could use it to convey that you want to stick in a certain headspace with this character you can convey to, there is no you're trapped here. It's whatever type of closeness, tightness. There is no getting out of what we are seeing or what we're meant to be feeling. There isn't wiggle room. You don't have a scope to relax. Some people don't like seeing those types of things or being. No, especially not now. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But we do. And that's why we find this device to be so effective is because this is what it can do. And she is always so intentional and specific about why she's using it, even though she never changes it. Sometimes we feel different versions of what four three can mean all within the same movie. Yeah, absolutely. Yes, absolutely. And just I'm just going to hammer home this. I'm just going to hammer the four three aspect ratio a little more. So way back when movies started like that was the actual size of a piece of film was four three. So when they projected it onto screens, it was a literal square by the late thirties with like Gone With the Wind Wizard of Oz, they had moved to what we now consider more traditional aspect ratios for movies like 235, every movie theater screen is now wide screen, so then jump to television, all televisions in the fifties up until like the 20 tens were squares and that's just how it was. So before almost every movie we'd see that thing. You know, this movie has been formatted to fit this TV screen. That's because all the movies we grew up on, all those VHS and shit, that was all a compressed image because they were chopping it out in post. So my whole point is for three rarely exists today because that's how everyone was forced to start. And it's just assumed like we have widescreen now, we have IMAX, we have Cinemascope, let's open up our worlds. That's what we're going to do. So when a filmmaker makes the conscious choice to shoot a movie in this ratio, they are doing it for an incredibly deliberate reason. Yeah, that's my whole point. And many of the reasons you just illustrated. I think the main reason she does it is to you're just right there. You're there with the characters. You're there if she wants to go in tight on their hands, you're there on their hands. This isn't a director who does a lot of like who does a lot of wide establishing shots where she's showing a master of the city and we get to take it all in. You just there. It is a very claustrophobic way of lensing and staging everything. And we're going to get to the cinematographer. She works with a lot, Robbie Ryan later a bit. But it's so important. I don't I genuinely don't think without Andrea Arnold, even if you haven't heard of her, even if you haven't seen any of the movies we're going to talk about today, her influence is all over things like The Lighthouse, which is shot in a square ratio of waves and Grand Budapest Hotel or movie set where their aspect ratios are changing. But they rely for large chunks on the four three aspect ratio. I can't I feel like such an absolute I do this, I try to do this straight face because I have to throw myself in there too now. But our last movie, I'm Alive. What? The last movie I directed and you started playing me. I did it strictly because of Andre Arnold. It was an absolute direct influence from her. I was really, really interested, strictly 100% because of her. Her work, namely fish tank. I've always been interested since then to film in 43 and it was so great to have the chance to do that. Yeah, another aspect of her work is that she commonly casts unknown actors as her leads, and this is such a smart decision. I totally get why she does it. It's the same reason Paul Greengrass cast at that time. All unknowns in United 93, because she wants her own world to be its own universe. And when you have really famous people in your movie, it's hard to transcend that. You're like watching a really famous person, so you're going to identify with them. Like, you know, we all can take stuff in the movies. Like, I don't like that actor for X reason or I love that actor, so we're taking that in. But unknowns are a clean slate. And she's said versions of, you know, that wasn't a verbatim quote, but she said versions of like that that, you know, when you see someone for the first time that universe that she's creating, it helps it feel more real. And she's 100% right because of the street like stories that she's telling you do kind of feel like if you don't know who this actor is, there is no predisposition. Like you are just sort of like, oh, wow, this is just that person, right? And even when you do have like I'm thinking of American Honey with Shia LaBeouf because he probably is the biggest name that was in one of her movies. But yeah, just because of who he was even at that time, he fits like. Yeah, absolutely. Because he looks like. Yeah. Was like just in this nomad lifestyle at the time having issues. I think it's probably safe to say and yeah it it feels he fits right into the universe. Yes, he. Does. And even in we'll get to it. But even like when he appears like you're sort of like oh alright like this is this, this works. And I think that's such an effective tool to use as a filmmaker is to just put people that we've never seen. Because if you put someone in that like you dirty him up, you put him in the right costume and wardrobe and all this stuff. We're still looking at that. Actors like, Oh, wow, look at the look at the depths they're going to to transform into this thing. And it could work because if it's a good actor, they'll make it work. That's what the job is. But to have a person you do not know, you have no relationship to prior and you're just seeing them in this world, it really does make a difference. Yeah, it's an absolute clean slate. Like even in some of the people who have been in her movies weren't really that well known at the time and now have gone on to have big careers. Some of them have never been in a movie again and it's like she happened to find someone and then capture lightning in a bottle. And then we got this movie and hey, if that's all the acting they're going to do, the movie's still there and it'll live forever. And it's so great. So. So before we get into her work here, she has a brief filmography, but an incredibly impactful one. I just want to do kind of a final hard sell here of her, her overall work in general. Some of this work, I'm dead serious. It changed my life. It changed how I view the female experience. And it did change my life in the way that how I viewed art and how I viewed my own filmmaking was almost rewritten by the language she created. I mean, if you go watch milk and fish tank, like back to back and then go watch my movie earrings, like it's just I there's so much that I took from it just stealing. And, you know, American Honey is like in our mailbag episode, someone asked, It's like our dream project, and I almost described that movie like, Yeah, put a bunch of women in a house and we just watch them be it's all realistic, like young women living life, being themselves. So that's what she means to me as a film buff and a filmmaker, I really cannot put enough emphasis on how important her work has been to me. So just one final hard self for me before we get into the work here. She's not afraid to go there. Filmmakers that just really, really cinch in that bit of extra that doesn't even need to be there. But they're not doing it for shock value. They're doing it just to deepen it, stick a little twist like she doesn't do it too much. It's never overkill. It's it's intentional for the right moments. And those, I think, are specifics to what makes her style uniquely hers. So I think she's just a wonder. And one more thing here, something that is honestly very important to her work. And one of the things I respect most about her work is her frank depiction of female sexuality. Yeah, she shows it like you're saying, like in terms of going there, in terms of getting real. Almost every film we're going to mention today has very, very intentional sex scene or sex scenes that are absolutely about sometimes plot development. Yeah, always about character development. And you're like, okay, what is this about? Like, things the sex starts one way. And by the time that actors done, things are changed for better or for worse, whatever it is, it has purpose, it has intention. And that is one thing I have always really respected about her that she's like, No, I'm going to show this. Like, sex is a part of female life. Like, Yeah, okay, we're going to go there, deal with it. Yeah. It's so different from the range of her movie because I think she uses sex in every single one to to one degree or another. Sex is a part of the stories that she's telling. Even. Cal Oh, God, Jesus. Really? Yes. Oh, my God. Unfortunately, that's. A good for her because good for her. They mean different things. And every time you see a sex act from her in her movies. I love what you said. Either it's sometimes it forwards plot. That's crazy. It does. It does. If you think about it, like where the characters are emotionally in their lives before that act begins versus where they are after it is different. And that is because of the act that has occurred. And sometimes, like I said, that is for better or worse. And the reason why I mention that here is because we're probably not going to get into any of those scenes, honestly. Yeah. Because they may, you know, ruin stuff. So that's why we're I'm just talking in general. Like if you can't describe a sex scene from a movie because it can, quote, give something away, that's usually a scene that's being done with intention. That's all. And that's something I appreciate. God damn it. You're right. Yep. See? See? Wow. Crazy. That's crazy. All right. My in to Andrea Arnold and perhaps quite a few people was fish tank. And the only way I found out about that how I heard about it, I was getting into Criterion. It's like too late to thousands. The film came out in 2009, but I think Americans could get a hold of it in 2010. That's when I saw it at least. And I had seen the film a few years earlier called Hunger, directed by Steve McQueen. That completely blew me away. That starred a guy I really hadn't heard of named Michael Fassbender. He became one of my favorite performers overnight because of his work in Hunger. And then Fish Tank was going to be his next movie. And I'm like, okay, I'm going to see that we're going to go in order. So we're going to get the fish tank. But on the fish tank criterion, which is a must own for any fan of arthouse indie cinema, she has her three early short films and I saw these for the first time. They're all these are on the Criterion Channel now. These are probably on YouTube, but I saw these all when I bought that fish tank DVD. So we're going to start with Milk here, which she made in 1998. This is my favorite of the three. I'm oh, this is your favorite now. It is. It is. And this I have one note here. This film is 10 minutes long and I'm not bullshitting. This made me view the female experience in a different way. It gave me perspective that I just don't think I had thought about before, and I. I remember watching it and when it was done, like, just sitting there fucking dumbfounded and like shaking my head and going, oh, like, oh, wow. I didn't. It was one of the most impactful short films I had ever seen, honestly. Like, I had already made my first short, but I still stand behind that short. But the ones I made later had way more of a cinematic, cinematic vibe. And that's because of stuff like this. This is one of my favorite short films ever made Milk. I completely agree that this really is this is I think you're the one who told me to watch this when we started doing production for There I Go, because you were like, All right, start watching some good short films because we don't really talk about short films much on this pod because there's unfortunately, there's not a market. So it's not it just. Isn't there is no market. I mean, that's what's crazy is that almost any short film, genuinely, almost any short film is available online for free. Yeah. Including the ones you and I made. Including the ones she is made some. You may have to do a little more digging for, but they're all out there, you know, public service announcement. If you have a short film password protected on Vimeo or something, just let that password go to. Yeah, that fucker fly free. Don't worry about it. It's all good. Put it out there. Let people see it. Put it out there. So there's not any theatrical market for it outside of Film Fest. Yes, that's what is a bummer. But whenever a filmmaker includes their own or any short on a DVD, I always watch them. I mean, I just love it. But yeah, a lot of filmmakers started with shorts, so many David Lynch, I mean, so countless, countless. And some of them, even the biggest filmmakers, still stepped to the side just to do a show. That's far and. Away. Yeah milk it just hits yet to the core right from the start. Every single shot, every single cut means something. This is a great example of the power of a cut. This short film, I don't think people realize that cuts aren't just the next thing that we're seeing. They're communicating time. They're communicating a complete transition from where these characters were to where they are now. All in in just like that. There's an economy to storytelling that makes for an effective short, even if you're short is all in one shot and it's all takes place over one scene. You have to be getting information across quickly. So when you have the gift of editing in a short, you can just show that, you know, unprotected sex cut lead straight to pregnancy, like not even pregnancy labor. Yeah, we all know what happened in between. We know what happens in those nine months. Like we get it, we get it. And just doing that and she does that a couple of times in the movie, not quite that big of a time leap, but where you're like, and she never loses you because, you know, going from here to here, watching this woman's experience and wow, it's just it's a really profound movie that's only going to take you 10 minutes to watch. So, yeah, hop right on it. And there's nothing about it that's boring. Like you said, like shot one. We're just we're cooking. We're going right up into the end and this thing tells an entire story in 10 minutes. Oh, my God. Like different ones. Yeah, the one that she's on and then the one that her husband's on. It's just an astounding piece of a short film that everyone should watch. Yes, absolutely. Three years later, she releases dog meat in 2001. This is another ten minute short and it's a tough one. It's a tougher sell than milk. You know, it's called dog for a reason. Fuck. But if you watch dog, that's like you see the genesis of Fish Tank in there. You know, you see the threads of her style and the stories that she's interested in telling and the characters that she wants to depict. You see these seeds that will blossom later in her features, but. Dog Yeah. Tell me about your experience with it. Honestly, this is actually one of my favorite portrayals of of one of her main characters. Yeah, it just, it what it does to me is like I watched it. I watched a short like this and I look at this girl and her and her journey throughout this short film, and I'm like, man, girls just like they have it so much rougher. It's just not true. It's not fair because all of this girl wants is just to be treated nice. That's it. Yeah. And she has to love kindness. Yeah. She's not asking for much. Right. And yet the life that this short shows is giving her nothing. She's not a bad person, as some of her characters are and some of the decisions that some of her characters make. This is one where I feel like this is the black and white, like so when I was talking about how good people can be and how bad people can be, you've kind of got this spectrum where there isn't a lot of gray because she's just such a nice, decent person who's just looking for some kindness. And then the person that she's trying to get this from is just not a good person in and. He's not a good dude, not. A good dude. No, at all. And he does for me, the most unforgivable thing a person can do. Well, it is called dog for a reason. Not a good one. Fuck. But I like that in the scope of her entire filmography that this is the one example of black and white, not a lot of gray. I think it's cool that she experimented even if she didn't know she was doing it. If you look at what we've done is watch her entire filmography. This is the one example of just that. I think that's pretty cool. Oh, God, yes. Two years later, she makes a short film called WASP. This one's a little longer. It's 25 minutes. We're going to talk about what the film is about. But this wins her the Oscar for Best Live Action short film in 2004. And it is a great early sort of tone poem to fish tank I I'll I'll go into a little bit of what it's about. It's about a young, irresponsible, poor mom. She puts a date with a guy before the needs of her children, and this leads to her making simple but extremely reckless decisions like what's the worst thing that can happen if you go have some beers and shoot some pool with a guy while my children just take a little rest, time out, back. Even if one of them is an infant in a stroller and they're out back outside of this grungy bar, it's like, Whoa, that's where this movie lives. Like, it's not it's impossible to watch this and not judge this mom and not go like, what are you doing? Do you not understand what's happening here? And it's like, Oh, fuck, maybe she doesn't. Maybe it's going to take something bad happening or the threat of danger happening to wake her up and to get her into the life of motherhood. And that's what this is all about. And it's expressed beautifully in 25 minutes. They're not all 25 easy minutes for God. I just you can see why I won the Oscar. That's the. Oh, yeah. What more do you need? Yeah. Yeah. I'm going to bring up one of those specific pieces of imagery that she. Oh, yeah. That I was talking about earlier to speak to this character's complete recklessness as she starts the movie by leading her kids to fight this other mom. Yeah. In the middle of the street in this fight, she ends up not doing so well. She's wearing this dress, and it cuts to during this fight, the dress lifts up and she's not wearing any underwear. That reality of this situation in this fight is happening among everyone's kids in the middle of the street in daytime. And then all of a sudden that happens. It just makes it that much more real in a not a good way. Like it's just sort of like, yeah, and then there's that. It just does something to you. If you saw that in real life that you're like, Wow, this is as real as something gets right now and it's not pretty. It's another added component. You're like, Okay, Jesus, that's how worse can it get for this movie? It's like, What more could go wrong? And we should say, like, these are teenage kids. Like these are young. Yeah, it's like I said. Yeah, no, there's children like in a fucking stroller. Can't talk. Yeah, it's yeah, this is this is a bad influence will say and she is telling us that right away. And even though we may judge her, she's not doing it with a judgment lens. And that's so easy to do with editing, with other characters going, What the fuck is wrong with you? You need to wake up. You don't hear those speeches in these movies, you know? No. And it cuts from that shot to one of the kids seeing that. Then we get to understand that this kid is seeing this, too, losing their innocence, perhaps. Sure. But that's the reality that she's painting for us. And then it's it there's no more need to like, you know, on her end of showing, talking about, it's just like, nope, that's boom right there. Moving on to the next scene. Oh, my God. And you know what's so cool about these shorts is that with some people like R.E.M. made, you know, if you think he came out of nowhere with, like, hereditary and then mid-summer he was making really fucked up horror shorts for a while. I didn't find out about them until he became famous, but they're all out there. My point is, if you watch one of these shorts that we're talking about by Andre Arnold, it's because you don't know if you want to commit to one of her features yet. They are such a good representation of where her future work is going to go. Yeah, watch milk. Like if you own this fish tank DVD and that means you possess these short films, you got to watch them. Now, if you have the Criterion app, just you got to watch these. Now, there's no reason not to. And I'm sure they're all on YouTube somewhere, but ten minute short hard sell. Yeah, I love that we spent this long talking about her three short films because they deserve this. Yeah, I think we're going to get to her features now. She has made five feature films total. One of her latest of which is a documentary. We're going to talk about that cow. But let's start with Red Road. And I want to say that yes. Is one that I went back to retro actively basically post fish tank. Fish tank was where I started going back to Red Road is a tricky one to talk about because I don't want to give any damn thing away. Yeah, she makes this movie for $1 million. It's shot largely in the Dogma 95 style, using handheld cameras, using natural light. This was a style that was pioneered by Lars von Trier, by Thomas Vinterberg. So it lives it doesn't follow it perfectly. If you like, love those movies. It isn't as bare, but what the movie's about is that Kim Dickey, in one of her earliest roles, she has a job watching surveillance cameras all day. And one day she catches someone in one of her cameras. And could it be them? No fucking way. Is it possible she never thought she would see this person again, and now she must confront them. So there's your setup, and I promise we're not going to reveal the payoff, but it is absolutely worth it. And it is not what you're expecting. There's just no way. I mean, the whole thing is set in a housing estate in Glasgow and this is, you know, I don't even have like an official ranking here, but this is just right close there to being my second favorite film of hers. Like, this is an A-plus movie for me. I watched it two days ago preparing for this, and I'm just sitting there like damn near on the edge of my seat, wondering, you know, because I didn't remember like every little bit about it. And Kim Dickey is just fuck. I mean, where this movie goes is, Jesus Christ, it stays with you and you just watch this for the first time, right? So, oh, god, tell me about it. I can't wait to talk about this man. You and I have not talked about this movie at all, ever, except right now. Let's do it. Dude. It was. It was fucking. It was wild. The pacing of this movie is different from any other movie that she's ever done. Yes, it's very patient. It's testing. Yeah. This is probably her main character that's like the most put together. Ah, well, she does. A good job. Yeah. So, yeah, I mean, on the service, she seems like, okay, that's. It's a woman on the bus, you're like, you know, you give a nod to she's not like, yeah, not digging in the trash for food. We'll put it that way. Yes. Yes, exactly. And because and that's that's just really the reality of her other characters. Yeah. But she's there's a bleakness and a numbness to her. There's a disassociation. And, you know, I didn't know what this movie was about, so I'm watching it and I'm kind of in this nebulous field with her. But then I'm realizing this is also her job. Like this nebulous field that I'm in is what she's saying. Oh, the character like. Yes, yes. And then also like what I notice about the cinematography that I really liked is that it's not really ever clear what she's looking at. It's, it's it takes a lot of patience for an audience member, I feel, but in a good way, because you're trying to make out what she's looking at through these pixilated screens with a certain level of intention. That's a little bit more than what you would normally give to any other movie. Yeah, it almost makes you, like, literally lean in. Like I was on the edge of my seat. Yes. And I do want to say that this only lasts for like the first, you know, like act two, the movie, basically. What does this say? Like yet? What the fuck is going on? Yeah. Yeah. And I highly recommend anyone who's listening to this fight who hasn't seen this, that wants to watch it turn up the sound. Oh, good. The sound design of this movie is actually one of the biggest things that I took away from it. There's not a lot to it. There's just this ominous. Yeah, that's. Yeah, like in those controls. Yeah. And it grows specifically like when it does because I actually noticed it specifically because of subtitles, because I actually had to put on because there's such a thick accent. Another public service announcement. Everyone watch your movies with captions. Every movie in any language, English, whatever language you speak, watch them with captions. You're going to learn so much cool shit. Case in point, keep going. Because when that would happen, it would write in the captions specific hum that would be hearing and then I would know humming intensifies. Yes, exactly. But I was like, okay, she is trying to communicate right now. It's like, all right, already now that we're leaning in, lean in a little bit more, there's something going on with her. It's those hums are reflective of what's going on in her gut. It felt like to me like it was in her head. We're in her headspace. This was visceral. This was a compulsion that she needed to investigate, to explore. And we don't know what it is. And I'm not going to give away what it. No, that's the movie. Yeah. This rumbling, this bubbling to the surface of something is going on is the tension that makes this movie so compelling to watch. That's all captured through sound. Yeah. Oh, God, I fucking loved it. But can we talk about Clyde? Yes, sure. Go ahead. I mean, we can. Ed, we have to be I want to be a little careful so we could talk generally, but. Yes, so, yes, get into it. So this dude captivates me, this actor, I don't know who he is. Tony Karen. Yeah, he's. Great. Tony. Karen Yeah. I would never want to like, be in a room with this guy, but yet, as the course of the movie goes on, I see the appeal. I understand a certain masculine energy that this guy is putting off that can be attractive, that can be alluring, and it's very confused. The shit out of me in a. Bottle, it confuses her. That's why it. Confuses. Hoyt. I think that's one of the intentions of the movie. It's like that's one of the core themes of her work, honestly, is what provokes this intense feeling of desire or sexuality within you, even if it's not good. A lot of the intensity in her films that the characters are feeling, they're conflicted by it. They're like, I don't think I should be feeling this. And yeah, this plays, but this is all done without dialog. It's all done with like emotional expression or just watching a circumstance unfold. That's why these scenes that we're talking about, these sex scenes, are so important to the movies. I'm serious. The way he invades her space and actually anyone space, the way he invades people's spaces because he's a bigger guy, too. There's something so dangerous and like, really like, dude, back up. I do not want you near me. But then she lets you in a little bit and then all of a sudden it's it feels to me like I'm like, okay, it's, it's actually kind of okay. He he kept me on a tightrope. I did not know where to go with him. And that entire time I'm with him, I am on an emotional tilt. I don't know how to feel. And it's brilliant. He's he's very, very good. Yeah. So many of her characters have done bad things, but they are not evil people. And when you hear the things they have done or sometimes she shows us the things they do, you're like, Oh, that's clearly an evil person. But then we get to know them a little bit and you're like, Fuck, this isn't there's more context here now for why these things are happening, whether that's, quote unquote, good or bad. I don't really think she's interested in answering those questions that definitively. Yeah, nor does she want us to. And I think that's what is so mesmerizing about her work that she sets up these scenarios and not trying to justify everything these characters do. Not at all. But she can see some light. Like like we said, there's a lack of judgment here. That's all it is. There's a lack of judgment on everyone. I really love that actor. It's all like, I can't. I can't keep saying it. Yeah, he's so good. He's I mean, again, a really good performance that she was able to capture. I think there's a vulnerability to him that you don't expect up top. And then that comes out and you're like, Yeah, man, that has to be credited in part to the director. Like it just has to be 100%. It has to be. That's exactly what it is. It's not just him. And that vulnerability is countered with like really the grossest of masculinity. Yes, yes. It's the perfect person. Now we're going to get to her second feature. This is a little movie called Fish Tank, made in 2009, again released stateside. I don't even know if this was in theaters, but that criterion hit in 2010. This is one of my top ten films of the 20 decade. There is. It just is it is a singular coming of age film about a fiery teenager named Mia, played by Katie Jarvis, finding her own identity sexually and otherwise. She lives in an East London council estate, which I said is like London's equivalent to housing projects here. And she lives with a mother who does not seem to like her very much, a younger sister that seems destined to be worse off than me. Even Michael Fassbinder comes into the mix this is him, as I mentioned, right after hunger, but right before shame. And it is one of his best performances. There's a looseness to him that is so revealing in rewatches like a looseness to him early on. And again, another hard film to talk about. But Fassbinder comes in as the mom's boyfriend and you see this extremely rebellious teenager, Mia, how she starts to adapt to this. And of course she doesn't like him at first because that's what we expect. But then living in that gray, going where we don't expect it gets tricky. And this is one of the most, I don't know, just one of the most nonjudgmental films I've ever seen. And when it gets to certain sequences, kind of like really like its last 30 minutes, you're just I'm watching it going. I feel like I should hate everyone involved in this. But she's portraying it was such a level of empathy that I can't help to feel at least a little bad for everyone. Circumstance from her to him to the certainly to the younger, younger sister, like you just kind of end up feeling bad for everyone. And that's where we start with Fish Tank. Tell me about this one for you is like. It's like the opening 10 minutes. I just remember thinking what a terror she is. Yes. Within the span of 10 minutes, she goes and does all of these pretty awful things. She's just antagonize sticks. She's fighting people. Yeah. Who seems like it used to be her friends. She's saying terrible things to her younger sister, and in turn, the younger sister is adopted. This attitude and persona of saying like horrendous shit. And then her mom and her just yeah, they don't click but she's this kind of instigating all this shit. Yeah. And you're like, what the fuck is why is she so such a terror? Like you said. She's a hurricane. She just comes into every situation and just causes complete chaos. I hated it. Yeah, I. Absolutely hated her. Like, I watched this, and I go, Oh, you are the reason that I just, like, I can't stand people your age. But again, like, that's not all she is. As this movie goes on and you get to be more and more of her reality and you start to see the way that she lives. Like, again, something Andre Arnold does that is like I always look at her kitchens and the kitchens in her movies. Oh, good call. Or just the grossest fucking things? Yes. Like you don't even know how they cook in. It's just like when when fassbinder's making a hot tea in the morning and it's not even his house, but he's just sort of making his way about finding it. And like the dishes that are piled up, the, the two. Grungy, it's not a desirable place to live. But because this is this Mia's environment, you start to kind of have a little bit empathy just because of her circumstance. This is not a great place to live. She actually is doing her best. That's what we spoke to. That is what is revealed just by watching her, not by monologues, not by anything like that, but she's not as hard solo as she is or with a friend. She makes a very platonic friend. She's not as hard around people like that friend or solo that she appears to be. So it seems to be like she's putting on a like a persona. She's adopted this persona, as is tough ass young girl. And I can't go out in these streets and drop that. I got to stay hard. And that's where the empathy comes from. And she and she just doesn't know any other way. Exactly. Exactly. Like that's the thing. It is. She's either kind of curious and open, but as soon as something comes in her way that emotionally triggers something else, it's fight it. Yeah, there is. There is no other option. And I think it's Fassbinder that like calls it out first. They're having a nice day in there in this situation, something's happened that she just doesn't like. So she starts acting out and she's giving it all to Fassbinder. He's just standing there and the mom is like, Fuck you, Mia! And he just goes, No, she doesn't mean it. Yeah. In that moment, you know that she doesn't. Actually, that's he gets through it. It's through someone else. He sees through it, he goes, nope, she's just, she doesn't know what else to do right now. So she's just yelling at me and saying some pretty mean things because she just doesn't know. Well, if we unpack that specific scene a little more, we can say that one of the things Mia clearly enjoys doing a lot but doing in private is dancing and dancing to like hip hop videos, dancing to her own music. She has, like, uses what she has and she gets a lot of enjoyment out of dancing. And Michael Fassbender's character, I love that he's into like kind of disco, kind of like seventies music, and he's always playing it and he convinces her in one moment, like, just let it go. Let's just dance like that. We're in a parking lot. Nothing's to happen. She, you know, she's reluctant. Then she gives in and starts having a little fun and, like, maybe we even see her smile. Like she never smiles in the movie. Yeah. What sets her off is when her mother comes out of the store she was in. Yeah. And immediately starts laughing at her daughter and dismissing her like, yeah, look, you look like a fool. That's what sets off. She doesn't go off on the mom. She does that every fucking. No, yeah. Every here's a brand new target so the heat seekers go in on him and he just watches this Flick because it literally happens in a millisecond. Mom starts laughing, Mia flips out. Not again, not at her. Just to the man who's standing here and he tracks all that and it's like, Oh, wow, this I mean, this mother and daughter pair, they're just not good for each other because the mom isn't even that hard when she doesn't know that the kids aren't around with Michael Fassbender, she's like, sweet. I mean, she's definitely a love. She's definitely a drunk, but she's there's a tenderness to her. And it's like, Mia, there's a tenderness to you, Mom. There's a tenderness to you. Can we talk? Can we sort this out? But now they can't. That's. That's not the world they live in. No, they. Can't. Miscommunication. Oh, yeah. And it's tough. Like, there's those times, too, where, like, the mom would say something to Mia and, like, throw something at her head and just say something, like, truly awful. And that's why you also get more empathy from Mia, because you're just like, God damn girl. Like, I would. Be like I probably be. What am I thinking and mean is shit too. If I was treated like that. Yeah. One of the that I always liked about this movie is like is hard as MIA comes across. Did you ever notice that every morning that they show where she wakes up it's the best looking that the is ever. Yeah it's the brightest it's and things get the. Brightest. Throughout the day because this is it's. A very young. Beautiful looking movie but you're in a drab so. Yeah, very intentionally. Yeah, yeah. That's a really good call. At first I thought it was just her bedroom because she is always waking up in her bedroom. And you've got these really nice bright sky blues. Her comforter is is like pink and yellow. It seems like it's very nice colors and we're always kind of opening up on her in a way that's just sort of like, Oh, wow, this is actually nice. And I thought that was just her bedroom until she wakes up on the couch one day and then it's the same thing. And I go, Oh, she's starting the day with this hope almost. And then it just goes to shit throughout the rest of the day. Yeah. I want to say this is a really funny story. So young Katie Jarvis, the way she got this role is that one of Arnold's assistants spotted Jarvis fighting with her boyfriend, like on a train station platform. They were just really going at it. And that got the wheels rolling to offer her this part and such good casting. I mean, this is this is probably the best example of her casting, an unknown that she literally plucked a real person out of the world and put them in these scenarios with professional actors like Michael Fassbender is incredible in this movie. He's so good with her. Their chemistry just the way that he knows. I mean, in that one, the second time she meets him, he's like coming over and she goes, You're such a dick. And he just walks by and goes, I know. Yeah. And it's like, that's a perfect response to this. Like, don't even get. Yeah, she's just a fiery teenager. Just walk in and go. I know it's man. I just love that. I love that. That's how she got the role that she's just fighting with her boyfriend at some train station to hilarious. Do that that's incredible I love that that's she like if she if she can enter into a relationship with a guy and they didn't have a fight on a train, this would never have happened. Michael Fassbender, real quick, you know, this is like if you've seen hunger and you've seen shame, most people agree those are two of his best roles. That's just like an objective fact. Certainly for me at least, this is right in the middle of that. And this this is a risky, risky character to take on. And I was I was frankly interested in watching this in the era of MeToo. And this is the crazy thing. It still works as effectively as it did in 2009. And that's because of the lack of judgment she's putting on her characters. And you just have to it's a dangerous but necessary film. I mean, this is a great movie to watch and have a conversation with someone about it and it's probably unlikely you're going to come to it with the same point of view. That's what's so cool. Like when you're talking about these movies that live in the gray. This is why we have this podcast cause. This is what we're talking about. It's a little difficult to talk about all these movies in all the the toughest scenarios and situations that their characters face without spoiling things. And I don't want to do that because I want people to go check these movies out. But this is one that will leave you thinking. That's what I'll say. Absolutely. And I really think only Andre Arnold could have made this this way. It's a testament to both her and Fassbinder, because this is one of those roles where I don't see anyone else doing that. Yeah. I mean he was, he was like around and then hunger like that was just a huge sensation for him. So I honestly don't know the full story. I would and the way I imagine it is she saw hunger and was like, There's my next male lead for my movie. Great. And it was, you know, clearly he's into her vibe, like the way that she films and everything. He's so loose. His style in it is so good. Like, I forgot how carefree his character was and how just like you know, Oh, that has a relaxed quality to him that I did not remember. He's very disarming in that way, to be honest. So he balances everything that is needed for this performance. It's a perfect performance from him. Yeah, to be honest. Like it really is. Like there's not a bad note in that he's fucking amazing. Yeah. If you're a fan of his and you haven't seen this, you have to see it because he's. It's as good as his best work. 100%. And I love the like he's very tender moments in slow motion that happen. All they happen at the best moments. You know what that reminded me of is Raging Bull because he uses slow motion. Raging Bull in the times you would not expect like you expect to see slow motion. They're like fighting. But he waits. So like that bloody ass sponge soaking on its back and you just see this like. Yeah, or when he's walking back to the ring and this when she like jumps on his back for that piggyback ride, just cuts a slow motion. Yeah. Whoa. There's a lot being communicated here with no words. Oh, there's also one shot in here that I just really loved. It's this shot where she's. She goes to see him at his work, and she's standing in between the arch of, like, the garage door with all of those giant blue cranes. Oh, yeah. In the background. But it just. I felt like that symbolized like how much is going on in her head at all times. And and it's bigger than her and it's dangerous. Like it's machinery, like there's she she can't do anything about all these things that are going on in her head. Yeah. Because that's one of the few compositions where we're like a little far away from her, and it's like this city is, like, almost, like, enveloping her. I don't know, maybe they did have all these conversations on the day. Maybe they did storyboard it, but we're still having that feeling. And I think that's the intention of that is to, you know, she's alone in this world that she's not used to like now, you know, she's not in that housing estate anymore. This actually leads to a really good if we're done with fish tank to Robbie Ryan, her cinematographer who who has shot a lot of her work, he's done it in the four three aspect ratio. He he prefers to shoot on film, but he also has shot digitally before. But this is his credits for her include WASP, Red Road, Fish Tank, Withering Heights and American Honey. So he has done he is absolutely a huge part of the Andrea Arnold language. And before we get into like some of our favorite from him, I just want a real quick shout out some of his other credits that people will likely be a little bit more familiar with, like Ken Loach, who Andrea Arnold was very influenced by, he shot the Angels is Cher and I, Daniel Blake that won the Palme d'Or and then a few more that people are perhaps more familiar with slow West, which stars Michael Fassbender, the Meyerowitz stories and marriage story for Noah Baumbach, the favorite for Yorgos Lanthimos. And he shot his next film, Poor Things, which is going to come out next year. He shot Come on, come on for Mike Mills. So the cool thing about Robbie Ryan is that he adapts to the needs of the director and that's why yeah I myself didn't realize that all these movies were shot by the same person because like the favorite and fish tank look completely different. And they both were an absolute lutely masterful. So like in the movies he did for Loach have a completely different visual language than his work for Arnold and I love that he adapts for the story and the director's style. So just wanted to give a quick shout out to him, that's all. That's talent. Oh yeah. To be so specific with her Andrea Arnold style. And then he had to bounce around and do like the cinematography in Slow West that that's some beautiful stuff but done completely different. Totally different. And it's made really close. It's made all these movies are made like very close together. So it's not like he has his ten years of doing this style and it's ten years of that. Like he's bending to the needs of the director, like all those fucking crazy wide angle lenses and fisheye lenses in the favorite. Like, I love the way that movie looks. I fucking love that thing. I love it. Yeah. He's nominated for an Oscar for that, which is awesome is only Oscar nom. And that works for. Your guess too. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Really, really great for him. You know, withering heights is how many times has Emily Bronte, his beloved novel, been adapted? It started in the thirties and Andrea Arnold felt that this was material that she wanted to take on. So I will say that withering heights has never been experienced like this, which is genuinely never leaving the side of Katherine and Heath Cliff. So, I mean, there's one like I mean, genuinely, literally, there's one scene when the two of them are walking, they're like walking through a field. He's behind her and they're falling in love. And we, we kind of adopt his point of view. And I swear to God, it looks like her hair is getting stuck on the lens of the camera. Like that's how close we are to. And it's just it's a small shot, but I don't know, we're adopting this point of view and the movie's full of shots like that, I think. I honestly think the cinematography, Robbie Ryan's cinematography, could be the best aspect of this movie. It is. It's a slow brew, for sure. This is not your mom's version of withering heights. And I think because the movie is so unconventional, people at the time and perhaps still today, they just didn't know what to do with it. It didn't make a lot of money. It doesn't have a large audience. This is coming off a fish tank because this was released in 2011 and I'm like, when do I get my hands on this? And if this came out in American cinemas, it was not anywhere within like a hundred miles of me. I don't even maybe it had like New York and L.A. Week release and then I it wasn't ever available on any streaming. And then I didn't see this till like years later. I think this might have even been right before American Honey, because I'm like, Wait a minute, I never saw that. And I just bought a DVD blind, bought it. So I mention all this because I've talked with a number of fans of Andrea Arnold who thinks that like she went from fish tank, took this little break and then did American Honey. And I'm like, No, there is a supremely unique adaptation here. And Arnold Completists should see it. That's my that's my pitch for it. But it is not my favorite of her works. I think that's that's okay to say. Where does this rank for you with though guys you said Robbie Ryan is like he may have been the best part of it. Where does this movie rank with his cinematography? Well, for her movies. What's crazy is that it's so bleak. It's that it's so grim. But it's so I mean, visually, like, literally, but it's so committed to that. Like, the whole thing looks like they did not even have a generator on set or an extension cord, let alone a light. You know, it's all very, very natural. I do want people who are fans of hers to see it. But, you know, I know you haven't seen it. And it's if we're hard selling Andre Arnold for someone who hasn't seen any of her work, I'd much rather you do. You know, Red Road, fish tank, American honey. That's all. That's all I'm saying. Yeah. Yeah. All right. Let's talk about now the her first American movie. Yes. And this is also one of the movies that we've seen together. You know, I did those. In thousand seven. Do you remember what happened when we saw this? Oh, my God. There is. A story. One thing I never do, ever, ever is go to the bathroom in movies. I don't do it. I just don't do it. Oh, in this sense, right? You know, you did Arclight rest in peace. I hope to bring you back. The cool thing about Arclight, just like Alamo's, you get two trailers, that's it. But sometimes they had the guy come down and fucking talk and they introduced the movie sooner, playing it like I knew I wasn't going to have to use the bathroom and then it just hit me. It happens very rarely. I was like, Oh my God, I have to pee so bad right now. Like, I can't hold it. Looked at my phone, I'm like, Damn it, there's still about an hour left. So it's like our Columbia, our back foot. And I, it was very quick, very fast. And I came back and I sit down and I'm just watching it and I'm putting everything together. And I look at you very slowly and I go, Did they have sex? And you look at me and you go, They had sex. And I went, Yes, it's probably important, wasn't it? Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's like I, I. Remember this is because it was happening and the sex scene in that movie that when that happens it's, it's a very, very big part of the movie. And I remember thinking as I was having to go, oh this is the worst time they could have done. That to you. That's why I never go to the bathroom. I swear to God I haven't gone to the bathroom since. That was like that was I mean, it's happened to me like three or four times in my life. I just I time it out. It's easy. I time out. I'm going to see my what are you watching? Recommendation. I'm teasing out a little bit again after we record this and I'm already timing it out, I watch how many liquids I'm consuming. I'm a sociopath. And this one just caught me. So I'll never forget that we're not even talking about the movie. Sorry. Sorry, folks. I'll just never forget that I just sat down. It was like, no, that was probably an important scene, wasn't it? Or something like that. So, yeah. All right. But tell us what American Heart is about. This is her very genuine lead, authentic American film. It felt like to me, like after like watching everything else, that she brought everything about her previous filmography to America. That's what it felt like. You know, even from the opening shot, you've got these kids and they're dumpster diving. Yeah. And like watching this lastly now I'm like, oh, oh, there's nothing there's nothing new under the sun here. This is an Andre Arnold opening movie, but two American audiences. This is the first thing that they've pretty much seen if they haven't seen Fish Tank, because that's probably the easiest or the most notable one that would it would have been known. Yeah. All of these performances are friggin amazing. What's the main girl's name? Her name in real life is Sasha Lane. The character's name is Star. This is Sasha Lane. Who? This was her first movie. A newcomer. Yeah, just. Yeah, just literally plucked out of, like, real life. I think Andre Arnold, like, ran into her on a beach or something like it. It's just something like that. And she's so captivating to look at. She's just like her hair, her tattoo, her face. She just has such a unique look that you kind of can't take your eyes off of. And I think that's what makes this movie work. It's like 3 hours. Yeah, it's a long one. It is. We're on her basically the entire time and never once do I ever want to leave because she just got one of those faces where I'm like, Man, I could just, like, I could just look at your face all day and be completely interested. So crazy how well she can communicate so much emotional information without ever having been in front of a camera before. It's, I don't know, crazy. Yeah. I can't even, like, understand it. Just, like, a natural, I guess, genuinely. And you balance that with, you know, I'm just going to, you know, I regardless of, you know, the personal issues of Shia LaBeouf, his performance cannot be understated enough in this. He's just he's incredible. He's just really fucking good. Yeah. I mean, we yes. This is it's a tough conversation to talk about him because I mean, that I was I appreciated that you would watch that Jon Bernthal interview that he did with him because that's some. Oh, yeah, yeah. We don't get a lot of interviews like that now with people who have been definitively canceled and who have attempted to change their life and are on the path to redemption is we're talking about real life here. I'm talking about American honey, like is Shia labeouf's road to redemption worth it? Should he be granted that? If you recall, I'm sorry for this tangent. I thought this might come up though, but at my bachelor party actually was like shitting on him, like in front of all the dudes. And I'm like, Nah, man, I used to love this guy. It's over for me. Like, I read this profile, what he did to FKA twigs. Like, Fuck that man. I'm not. I don't mess around with this stuff. Yeah. In saying that, I've never seen someone that never in my life in celebrity culture, in my real life actively and publicly tried to atone for those things, which is, you know, he's been out of it for two years. Like we haven't really heard from him socially. He got dragged into this. Don't worry, darling Self, it's really was not fair. I will say. It's just I mean, it's a lot easier to punch down, I'll put it that way, as opposed to punch up and seeing that interview with Jon Bernthal, I'm like, Hmm, this is this is interesting. You don't the slate is not wiped clean with me, my friend. And I think he accepts that and understands that. But I'm rooting for him. I'm going to say that I really, really am. I'm rooting for his sobriety. I'm rooting for his what seems to be a very deep concentration on Catholicism. I'm rooting for all of it and I'm rooting for, you know, performances. And I think its final thing is I think it's just really cool that he's how he talked about his wife in that interview. I thought that was I, you know, seeing a man be that vulnerable, talking about the woman he loves who's Mia Goth, who's the star of X and Pearl. Two movies that I love that anyway yeah we have to talk about child abuse because he is anyone watching the movie in every single review of this movie, even if the movie's too long and it's too sparse and it doesn't have enough to latch on to, everyone liked him in it and everyone praised him. And there was even some talk of like, could this sneak up there for like a supporting actor Oscar nominee? Yeah, he's a guy with his demons, you know, he is a man with very, very deep seeded demons that I'm rooting for him to work on those effectively. That's all I'll say. It doesn't take away the shit he's done. And I that's something that I got to, you know, come to terms with just in my own little private world. But he is great in this movie and I. I wish him well in real life. I genuinely do. I agree. And here's the deal. The bottom line is, all anyone can ever do with whatever depths of evil that they may stoop to, if you're just actively trying to be better, what else? Like, that's it. That's all can really say. Yeah, that's all that one can do. You either you have two choices, you either stay and continue that or you try to be the best version of a you can or you die like there's there's no in between. Yeah, that literally. Is it like you stay being a shithead, you up, you fade into obscurity like I'm gone from public life or yes, you die or you publicly are like I'm trying to atone. Like I don't even give a shit if I'm going to be an actor anymore. I care about being a father, a husband. I care about being spiritual. Like that was what was interesting for me to watch that. I've never heard someone just literally willing to like throw it all the way. The career, I mean, in service of having a better life and a better being, a better dad and being a better husband and a better human. Even if it wasn't in public. Yes. Yeah. Correct. Correct. Yes. Yeah, yeah. You could be doing all of that work. You could fade away completely. No one knows. He could be that guy. That's like, man, whatever happened to him, there's just nothing that you can't ask anything more of anyone. You know, you can still have your feelings and you can still have your opinions about how you view that person. But at the end of the day, like if he's actively trying to do the best he can. I would just real quick final point on this. For me at least, I would really encourage every like am I really encourage every dude to go watch that interview. And I, you know, those are two like Jon Bernthal is like a man's man. And the reason why he has that podcast is it hits all vulnerable, real conversations like there are tears on it. It's not it's like alpha male pumped up thing that's it's the antithesis of that. And seeing a guy like Shia LaBeouf who used to consider himself so like pumped up and have all this bravado and seeing him to sit there being like stupid, fucking ignorant, being dumb being dumb, that's what I was just dumb. It was a, it was a self assessment in the way in which I never seen except by people who have had falls in their life and committed to, you know, a program like AA and dedicated their life to something like that. Like you see it working and I don't know, I'm rooting for him, that's all yeah, it can work. And I am too. And this was one of my favorite performances of 2000. Yes. Back to American. I mean. Yes, yes. He's great. The film. Yeah, it he's always been one of my favorite actors to watch. There was a certain point the transition happened. The chemistry that Sasha Lane and Shia LaBeouf have in this is really what lights this movie on fire you're you're watching these 3 hours with this crazy road trip across America is just I think it's probably some of the best chemistry that Andre Arnold has ever had in any of her movies between two. And it's just on fire. It's like burning through the screen. It's great. Shout out to Riley Keough. One of our lover, that. Every that we mentioned, she fits in an Andre Arnold story like peanut butter and jelly man, that you. Really feel like she's that girl. So let me. Okay, before we get to her just a little set up. So Sasha Lane is this explain this teenager who is out on her own. She's named Star and she joins up with this like ragtag group of teens, early 20 somethings who they just travel around like middle America, selling magazines door to door. That's that's it. And this is Arnold's American set epic. But and like we said, it's long, it's broad, it has intention, but there's really no core plot. You're just following her around and seeing all these different circumstances. And the leader of this group, you could say, quote unquote, leader, is Krystal with Kay, played by Riley Keough. I mean, the second you see her when she's kind of interviewing Star, she's that's where the title comes from. She's like, oh, you're Southern girl, American, honey, just like me. And I mean, the way she smokes, the way like she wears her clothes, she just fits. Like, if you've never seen her in anything else, you could definitely say, like, is that another unknown that she does plucked out? Like she looks like she has movie star appeal and quality, which she does. God, we love her and so does Shia. Because a lot of the other people in this ragtag crew are unknowns. Like I've never seen them before or since, and everyone looks like they belong. There's no movie star who is in Transformers sitting over here. It's not like that at all. Elvis's granddaughter is not the leader of this group like everyone belongs. It's so cool. The four three is really like it's so effective. Here it is every time she uses it. But I just wanted to call that out about how one of the reasons why it's so long is because it will just like linger on her for and you see her like making her minder. We're with her like going, should you go into this situation? You know, this happens a few times. We're like, oh, god, are you you really want to do that? Going back to like that wasp, feeling like, oh, god, don't leave your kids there. Yeah. Feeling that like, oh, god, don't make this decision. How is this going to turn out? And we're spending longer than usual in these moments than we're used to. It's not something I mind in certain films like this, but you're staying with them for longer. But it's worth it. It is. It really feels like an epic just set now, right in the heart of America. It does feel like 3 hours, but not in a bad way. But it feels like I just trekked across America. If you can convey that feeling even in the slightest, that as an audience, I just went on this trip with you. I saw all these different parts of the land and I got to feel certain ways about them that I can take away from this movie. That is a hell of an achievement. And she got that across. I really felt like, Wow, we just went on a journey. Yeah, yeah. And it's, you know, it's like 2 hours and 43 minutes to say and credits. You can like chop a little off. I'm just trying to get people to watch it. People here, too, 35 sounds better than three. So. Well, I guess that. Yeah, I guess that's true. It does. It does. But I mean, if you think about all the movies that fucking come out nowadays. Don't get me started on them for 2 hours. The wrong platform will probably do this as like Oscar talks come out or just that how like the that seems to be we we even done this I've done this rant before that that's the new norm like the three hour movie. It's like, yeah, that's where we are now. That's so weird. From when we were kids. Like the two hour and 15 minute movie was a little weird when we were kids. That's like, Okay, the two and a half hour movie was the Oscar movie. That's what that was. Yeah, the three hour movies like that, that was Titanic. Like, that's what they or the English spaceships. Titanic. Yeah, I do think. Now, I mean, everyone has a much healthier appetite for TVs, so I guess some people just think it's just going to be like three TV episodes. But in a movie anyhow, we're going to get to our last film here and this is wow, this is a tough one to watch and it's going to be a difficult one to talk about. This is a documentary called Cal from 2021, only 94 minutes long. You do feel those minutes, I will say. But it's a documentary about a dairy cow named Luma. It makes for a tough set. It's a challenging set of a film because the entire, as I've already mentioned, is from Lumias point of view, the camera's just right there next to her the entire time, even if that means the camera has to like shake or reset a little awkwardly. We're just right there with Sweet Luma. And it's a crowded space. You can hear like this maddening low bass rumble of this terrible top 40 music playing all the time in the background. It's just chaos, you know? We're on like a dairy farm. It's just there's frenzy. Humans are not central to this story all. And they're only depicted as like obscure background figures who are just, you know, there's doing their jobs, they're just going about their day. And we may catch like some stuff that they say, but I don't even think there was like a boom mike was put in their direction at any point. Oh, wow. But if you do watch this whole thing, you're locked in, you're going to see some things you may not expect. Like there's virtually zero narration, no voiceover, there's no interviews. We watch Luma and we come to understand her tortured life because the film begins with her giving birth. This is she's impregnated. She gives birth. Within 5 minutes of giving birth, the calf is taken away and separated from Luma, who does not appreciate. She flips out because she wants to naturally to care for her young as she's flipping out like one line of dialog you can hear from the humans, you know, because they're just like chuckling and going, Oh, it's okay. She's just getting a tache. And it's like, Well, yeah, that's her fucking child. Like, Come on, because she's getting attached. So. So while Luma is upset that, her baby, this is all like in the first, like 3 minutes. While Luma is upset that her baby is being taken away, they immediately, immediately hook her up to automatic milking machines that. Should be for that calf, but that milk is, you know, being automatically pumped out so that everyone can enjoy their milk and cheese. That's to quote Lockheed Felix's Oscar speech. Trust me, I understand what a lot of people may be thinking. I'm going to get to all that, because none of this is you're not hit over the head with this yet. Narration or voiceover would be hit over the head. This is not a vegan documentary, I promise. I think some people watching it may think that's the intent that this movie is designed to turn people off animal products. But I actually I didn't believe that was Arnold's intention watching it. I read a number of interviews with her after that was not her intention at all. It's just like a character study of a cow, basically, which again, if you allow yourself, the experience is very it's just unique. I've never seen anything like this again, to quote to quote Joaquin Phoenix's Oscar speech, this is the reality of how you put your cream in your coffee. A cow is forced to be impregnated. She gives birth. She's separated from her calf. The owners drain her of her pregnancy milk so that people can drink it and eat it. That's what's in the movie shot break. Repeat. This is Lumet's life cycle. There's nothing else to watch. This is it. She's trapped in this small space. Forced to have sex, forced to be milked, forced to never enjoy the company of her young rinse repeat. It's actually pretty incredible. Like, it is a tough set. I'm glad it's only 94 minutes long. But what's crazy? It's movie. When I see cows in a field, it made me view that differently because there's a few times in the movie when they just let them, like, roam free outside and, you know, they graze. It's not like for that long, but they're just like out there away from that terrible music, away from all the automatic milking machines, just away from the chaos for a little bit. And I swear to God, I swear to God. There's a scene of Luma watching the fucking sunset. Just like out there. Just like watching it set, like enjoying this beautiful moment, because it's like you could just see her thinking, like, oh, this is. This is when they let me out of the prison cell, I get to, like, have time in the yard. And it is a tough film. It is a challenging film. I've I've mentioned this a few times, like recently, and this isn't something I talk about, like ever, like you and I never have conversations about this. My wife and I never have conversations about this is I want people to do what they want and I want them to eat what they want, want to eat. But I am sensitive to things like this. I am a vegetarian. I have been for years. But the point of this movie is to not get you off dairy like I don't eat meat. But I do eat eggs. Butter. I haven't bought milk in like 15 years. I think milk is fucking gross. But, you know, if there's nothing else at a diner and I got half and half in my coffee, I do that because I'm a fucking hypocrite. Like we're all hypocrites. But that's maybe that is the point in the movie. I don't know. It's just to show you a life. And I know you haven't seen this yet, so that was kind of like a mini capsule review. But yes, it is good. It feels and looks like an Andrea Arnold movie. It just stars a cow, that's all. And it's exactly what the movie sounds like. But it doesn't end with her. SLAUGHTER And that's not a spoiler. I'm just saying that because that's where I thought I was going. I was fucking sweating the whole time. I'm watching this like they're just going to cover up and we're going to like, see a plate, a picture of a steak at the end or something. That's not what this is, thank God. It's it's more humane than that. But it was I don't think someone could watch this and like actually pay attention and go animals don't care about they're young. Like, that's just not true. It's not true at all. They do. And you know, there's my selling point for Cow. I rented it on Amazon for like 399. If people are interested. In your like basically review of this movie, you made me think of something that we have not we have buy. We touched on it, but we have not really discussed that. Probably one of her biggest thematic elements to all of her stories, motherhood. It's a part of almost everything. Like she. Yeah, in some form or fashion there is motherhood being talked about in some sort of way. Sometimes it's more prominent, sometimes it's less, but it is always there. I think her depiction of motherhood is one of the most honest that there is, because sometimes it's it's awful. Like, you know, when you watch a movie like WASP and you see like, yeah, this mother making bad decisions, but it's not even about that. I think what you were talking about, cow is what kind of like, linked me to her. Is that there is this feeling that I get from her about being a woman and motherhood. It reminds me of Fish Tank, actually, without giving it away. That's all saying that bringing that cow review up, it made me really connect with Andre Arnold's view and points of view and expressions on motherhood. That's a really good point. That's not like a thread that I connected. But yeah, in milk it's important in wasp and yeah red to a certain degree in fish tank. Yeah. It is a huge theme of hers. And although cow is not about humans, it's still a very good portrait of that's really what I saw it as. It's like a mom who like can never spend time with her kids and like, she gets, you know, she gets like. Yeah. Like all the stuff off of her right immediately after. And then I buy. That's it. And that milk that should be that calves goes immediately, you know, to the automatic milking machine, into the bottles, into the buckets. It goes, it was, it's a good documentary. I've never really seen anything like it, honestly. And I'm glad I watched it because I didn't I honestly didn't even realize it was like available and out there to see. I thought it was going to be obscure to find, but it was very easy. It's right there on Amazon. So that's Andre Arnold. That's all over movies. I'm so glad we got to talk about the shorts. Any final thoughts, any final selling points you want to send people for you get to? What are you watching here? I think the best thing that I can say is that if you've never seen an Andre Arnold movie and you dug this podcast, it do what Alex said in the beginning is like, go and get that fish tank criterion and watch those shorts. Yeah. Or just like Google the shorts. Like just just watch one of those and be like, yeah, I think. Hmm. I think I could venture into this world for a feature, and I just promise none of these are going to be. They'll all be worth it. I promise they all will be. Yes, will be. So yes. If you don't want to give yourself to a whole entire full length feature, find a way to watch Milk, Dog or WASP. And if you vibe with that, jump right in. Like headfirst into her filmography and you will not be disappointed, you'll get a lot from it. This has been one of my more favorite deep dives that we've done just because I she's just incredible. Watching all of her work, like in chronological order, which I did for this, was just it was a lot of fun. Yeah. I mean, you're you're really entering into a world. These aren't, like, necessarily the most entertaining movies, but damn, these things make you think. And they're all like, I just learned stuff from them. It. Yeah, they're so personal. One of my favorite. Yeah, they're so personal. And this is one of my favorite all time filmmakers and very few directors have had more influence over my own work. So That's my final selling point I got. I just wanted to make so, so much. Her career has not only been limited to film, I should say she's probably people are probably more familiar with her TV work. Honestly. Yeah. Like Transparent. I love Dick with Kevin Bacon. Big Little Lies Season two. Wow is a source of a lot of controversy, maybe not even worth going into here. I was just so ecstatic that if you watch Big Little Lies Season one, my opinion, it didn't need to have a season two. I don't think that was the intention, but because it was so popular, they're like, All right, yeah, we'll spin this out for season two. And when I hear we're bring in Andre Arnold on to direct. Yeah, every single one of these I'm like, I'm watching this now and I watch the first season like it and I've seen every episode of big little lies. But during the first episode of that second season, I went, This ain't her, I know what's going on here, but this is not her. This is not her tone, her pacing, her vision. And this is a very controversial Hollywood story from a few years ago. But but apparently Jean-Marc Vallée, who was responsible for the first season, just like took it over and re-edited the whole thing and reshot a lot of it. And, you know, that's sad for a lot of reasons. He also passed away very recently, so young. So it's just it didn't sound like a good experience for like anyone. And I don't think it was supposed to leak that that happened, that she, like, got everything taken away from her. And when it did, it turned a lot of people against the show. And a lot of people were just left confused for like such a smart move to hire her. Like, if you're going to say, oh, why not? If you're going to hire a visionary, you want their vision to strip it all from them. What the fuck was the point? That's, you know, promise someone get upset about something like this. Let's go to. What are you to hear? Oh, that was so much fun. Was so good to talk about her. I will warn you. My, what are you watching? It doesn't have anything to do with her. I'm just really excited to talk about it. If yours does, you should go first, which I know is pretty rare, but I hope that's a good enough explanation. Justification for why you should go first on this most rarest of occasions. I I'm going to allow this just this once. Okay. I appreciate you. Oh, thank you. So I'm going to kind of go off because I kind of like piggybacking off the idea of trying to encourage people to watch the shorts. If if you like that, watch her work. But if you're not even going to do that, if you have seen the Florida project, I feel like that is an absolute great double feature to make. Yeah. If you were to do the Florida Project in Fish Tank, those two, I feel like Sean Baker is heavily influenced by that. And had to have. Had to have been. That is my recommendation for what are you watching is to try to pair it with an Andre Arnold movie or if you haven't seen the Florida Project, that was my favorite movie of 2017. I know. I've recently watched it for an episode that we did maybe like a year. To A24. A24 Yeah, yeah. And it had just as good time with it as I did the first. So it it because it makes me mad in the same way that fish tank makes him mad. This fucking youngster's making. Poor decisions, living life. Yeah, this is. Yeah, great. Like 1 to 1 comparison with her work. Yeah. So that is my. What are you watching? Take it away, Alex. Did you know that Phantom Thread came out in 2017? I'm just. I'm just, you know. I know, I do, I do. I stand by, I stand by, stand by. You're allowed to stand by whatever you want. It's all. It's all good. The only connection this movie has is how visually strong it is. Oh, my. I saw the film, and I'm literally in 2 hours from now going to see it again called The Barbarian. Wow. This is a fantastic new horror film. This is not like if you like horror movies, you'll like this. If you like movies, you like this. Just calling all cars this. The movie was directed by Zack Krieger and he was part of the whitest kids. You know, funny, like comedy troupe that was around for a little bit. And this is his first movie as a director. And here's the setup and I'm telling you nothing. And thank God here we, have a film trailer that shows you nothing. Hallelujah this. And he cut it himself. That's probably why. Yeah, here's the setup for it. Georgina Campbell comes into town. We don't know where she is. She has an interview the next day, so she's like, you know, it's raining outside, it's dark. She pulls up to her Airbnbs. He's not there, she tries to get in lights, turn on Bill Skarsgard, brother of Alexander Skarsgard, son of Stellan Skarsgard, who played Pennywise in the new It movie. He's a creepy dude. He's a great actor. He opens the door and he also has a confirmation to be in that Airbnb. At the same time, they're not saying Airbnb. They're making, you know, making names, but it's a double booked Airbnb house. What do you do? Does she stay? There's nowhere else to go. It's pouring rain outside. It's late. She's got to wake up early. That's your setup. That's all you're going to get for me? It's a great setup. It's like, do you come in and stay? You know? I mean, I'll say yes. She's invited in. She comes in. There's your setup. Holy shit, there is no one. It's virtually impossible to anticipate where this movie is going to go and that it's not done for shock value, that it's not done for. Ha ha. Got you, fuckers. It's not that at all. This is made by someone who fucking loves movies. I've listened to him on a lot of podcasts at this point. One of his biggest influences visually was a little film called Angst, released in the eighties, which is Gaspar, Norway's biggest influence. And one thing that makes so cool angst is like it's an 80 minute movie when you're just following a complete fucking psychopath around as he tries to decide what to do and he decides what to do. And then you stay with him and watch it for a lot of that movie. You're just behind him on this insanely wide lens. He did that for this movie. Like we're following people on like a 12 millimeters lens. Like, it's so far back, it looks like we're in a fisheye and it's so unsettling. This movie rocks. You do not have to be just a fan of horror movies to like this. Like I tweeted, I didn't want to oversell my tweet, but in the tweet I said, there's some really impressive editing and cinematography, but a better word for it is strong. Like there were editing cut single cuts where I went, Oh wow. Oh, okay. Where it's just good barbarian directed by Zach Rager. Go see it. Go see it. I loved it. I might fucking go see it because there's not really many out and. This is one that this is a sleeper I think it's going to do. It's already made its money back its opening weekend. I think it's going to do well. I think it's going to be around for a while and it's going to do fucking killer when it comes when it hits streaming. But go the theater. Don't ask anyone about it. Go see it. Just go see it, that's all. Oh, this was so much fun. So much fun. Go watch an Andre Arnold movie. Go challenge yourself. It's worth it. Go learn about the female experience like we have. In all seriousness, this is a director's work who means so much to me, and I'm so glad we got to do this. If you've seen a film of hers, or if we have, encourage you to check one out. Let us know on Twitter or Instagram at W AIW Underscore Podcast. And as always, thanks for listening and happy watching. Hey everyone, thanks again for listening. You can watch my films and read my movie blog at Alex Withrow dot com. Nicholas Dose Dotcom is where you can find all of Nick's film work. Send us mailbag questions at What are you watching podcast at gmail.com or find us on Twitter at W AIW Underscore Podcast. It's been 15 years since great movie year. That was 2007. And next time we're going to talk about our favorite films from that banner year and debate. If there has been a better movie year since. Stay tuned. I still here to probably suck and listen to. Hi, Ali. I saw I thought she was going solar. That caught my eye. It was like, what the fuck? And then her interest in film. Hold on. I can hear these keys. Everything's being picked. It's okay. Bye, baby. Sweetie, I love catching the little moments between you guys. I love it. That's just love, brother.