Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” is the film Alex has seen in the movie theater the most. Ever.
In this spoiler-filled bonus episode, Alex describes his obsession with “Oppenheimer” to Nick, who listens with concern.
This episode will spoil “Oppenheimer.”
Listen to our first review of “Oppenheimer” here!
Follow @WAYW_Podcast on Twitter and Instagram and Letterboxd.
You're rolling. I am. Okay. So are, uh. Hey, everyone. Welcome to. What are you watching? I'm. Alex flipped out. I'm joined by my best man, Nick Dostal. How are you doing there, Oppie? I am atomically excited to be here. You're being a very good sport for this. Very good sport. We've already talked about Oppenheimer. The fans know this. We did a whole pod. It was not that long ago. We did a whole podcast about it in a whole pod, but we did. We spent enough time talking about Christopher Nolan, spent a lot of time talking about Oppenheimer, but somebody that was then and this is now, somebody somebody over here, things have changed. Things have changed. And I, I just wanted to this is this is as loose of an episode as it gets. It's going to be very short. A very just quick bonus episode here, because what I realized is things have changed here. So I just wanted to share those changes with our lovely listeners as well. And you're good enough just to be along for the ride and let me just jump in here and say that my fellow mad movie buffs, your fearless leader and host of What Are You Watching podcast Alex Withrow as developed a deep, deep obsession. It's an Oppenheimer obsession, everybody. It is on a level of which that I have. I've known Alex's obsessions, I support Alex's obsessions, and I support this one. But this one is gotten crazy. Oh yeah, my wife is saying this too. But before I, before, before I kick it off, let me say perhaps you will agree. I made this point to her just last night when I saw the movie Waves. I was like, obsessed with that where I did not shut up about it. I'm like you, Nick. You have to go see it. Ali, You have to come see it. I was, like, telling everyone about it. Oppenheimer doesn't need the extra press, so I'm not going around. I haven't been big on Twitter about it. I'm just like, I'm just going and having my own relationship with it. But I'm not like, No, best movie ever. This thing fucking rocks. Even last night with Ali, I'm like, Yeah, it's good. And she's like, But you're like, You've seen it so many times. And I'm like, I know, but you've read the book. And I go, Oh, no, I guess I'm a little embarrassed at this point. Yeah, I don't know what else happened. So it last night I needed I literally saw the movie last night. So how I want to start is, you know, I have our Nolan rankings here and how we had them after Oppenheimer. I'll do this damn quick. You put Oppenheimer at five in your Nolan rankings. I put Oppenheimer at eight, and I remember saying in the PI. Oh, yeah, Oh yes. Oh yeah. I was like eight. I go, I guarantee you this number is going to change. And I said, You really? Probably, Yeah, probably. But from where it was that recency bias and all of this in that I, I just, I just remember in my head I was like this is see how long it can go, how long you can go for that jumps up And I had no idea. Yeah. That we'd be reporting back a month or two later. Yep. Almost two months having this conversation. Yeah. I can imagine with the numbers because I know what it's not. Yeah, but I think I know what it is. You want me to take a guess? Yeah. Go for it. I think it's number two. Oppenheimer is the best movie Christopher Nolan has made, and it's my number one. No, it's not. Yeah, you said you would never go over Memento, because here's what happened. Here's what happened. Judas have realized. I know, I know. I can't believe it. Memento will always be my favorite Christopher Nolan movie. That is true. It always will be that I like help. I got to understand movies. I loved the movie so much, but it helps me understand movies in such a way. Help me understand independent cinema. I saw Memento in the theater thanks to Alamo Drafthouse two weeks ago, which which has been great because I'm on my Oppenheimer kick and I'm watching it in the theater. And I seen Oppenheimer. I think I think the day before and I went, Memento is your favorite for those nostalgic reasons. That's why you're holding onto it and calling it your number one memento. It's not the best movie Christopher Nolan has made. If we look at sound cinematography, score editing, performance, performance, performance, if you look at what it means to put a movie together, I do intend to talk humbly. I think Oppenheimer is the best film. Christopher Nolan has made. It is what I would put it, my number one. I guess that means I have to put Memento at number two. It's it's what we talk about a lot. Best first favorite like yeah you can they can vie for number one but like memento is I love that movie. I loved watching the theater. I was having so much fun watching it again. And I'm like, I love it. I own it. I was I watch it for our Christopher Nolan part. I watch it in order for the Nolan pod and then regular. Now Mike fucking I'm still going to go to Alamo, but. But Oppenheimer, I don't know what happened. I don't know how we got here. So I'm going to go through my timeline because I haven't even mentioned how many times I've seen it. And again, I'm not going to keep you here long. We going to go to this quickly. Viewing number one. I watched it. Yeah, I watched it in 70 millimeter. And then we recorded a podcast about it very shortly after. That was one of the frankly, I underplayed it on that podcast. That is one of the worst moviegoing experiences I've ever had because of Disrupt Live. Audience Member Again, when we recorded that episode, I'd seen the movie once. Yeah, one time is not enough times to put this movie together. It is not enough times to figure out that every single thing tracks that every justification for color or black and white perfectly adds up. It's like a math equation, genuinely, the movie is. So I went and saw it with my aunt and regular format. We did a Barb and Hammer day just on a regular DCP regular movie theater that was viewing two. That was cool. That was three days after I sold the first site. Seven days later, Dan was visiting and I still hadn't seen an IMAX. He had not seen it at all. So we saw it in IMAX. That was the first viewing. I put it all together. Now, keep in mind it's his first viewing. So our conversation after was really cool because any question he had, I could pretty much answer it, which I couldn't do on first viewing. Like I just couldn't. Yeah. So then six days go by and I had already teased on our Oppenheimer pod, I teased that I had tickets to the air and space Museum on August 4th. And that's a true IMAX screen, 86 feet, fucking massive. It's like the sentiment of the movie is there the structure of the movie is always the same. The performances are technically always the same. It is a completely fucking different movie on a true IMAX screen. I mean, I'm like speechless and I've seen the movie so many times, but just seeing it and being like, Wow, I mean, what an experience. What a truly like mesmerizing ride. Yeah, I thought I was done. I thought it four. That's plenty. And 16 days go by have a birthday. It's like moving on with my life, moving on with my life. And I go, You know, the closest theater that this is playing to you in 70 millimeter IMAX, the way Nolan wants everyone to see it, if you can. The closest theater is 170 miles away from me. I'm talking myself out of this constantly, of course. And then I'm like, Man, what's the big deal? Like, you love the movie. You can't get it out of your head. Wake up in the morning, drive 3 hours to go see it, sit there for 3 hours, and then drive 3 hours back. Why not? So that is exactly what I did. And now and it was amazing. I have no complaints. And then something tipped over because I was done. There's no logical need to keep going. There's not. I seen it five fucking times in every format possible. 70 millimeter regular IMAX. True IMAX, true IMAX, 70 millimeter. It's done. So six days go by and that was on Sunday. So six days go by and I'm working out in the morning on a Saturday. I'm just working out. I was listening to the audiobook American Prometheus, which is based on 22 hours long. It's like 700 pages. This thing is long. I'm just devouring it. And I said, All right, you're going to be a lunatic and you're going to go see it a sixth time when you finish the book. So I'm working out in the gym, like halfway done with the book, like I'm going to see this. I'm going to fucking see this right now. I'm going to buy an IMAX 11 a.m. show. And then I realize I go, If you buy this ticket and go see this movie, if you see this for six time, you are tying your record for the most times you have ever seen a single movie in the theater in its first run. And that was when I made my parents take me to the movie theater six times to see Independence Day in the summer of 1996. That happened. Never thought I'd beat it. So that is incentive enough to buy the fucking ticket. That is what I do and I love the viewing. I have a great time. It starts at 11 and ends at two. I got my whole day ahead of me, but now it's like a thing and I go, You're going to finish the book. And then like, you got you can't just leave it here with the record tide. You got to go for a seventh time. You just got to do it, got to go for a seventh. So I finished the book Five Days Goes By and I buy another true IMAX ticket at the Air and Space Museum because I was told it was the last day. So this is viewing number seven. I'm told that's the last day it's going to be at the Air and Space Museum. It's still there as of this recording. So I but I went and I'm like, Wow, this is great. So that's the all time movie record done with the book. Now we can really put all this shit to bed seven viewings, We can all go home. So I buy the screenplay by the actual book. The screenplay is written in the first person, which I've never seen or read before, and it is remarkable. And I'm reading the screenplay and I'm like, I could fucking finish this screenplay and go watch this at the Alamo Drafthouse because I haven't been able to see it. And subtitles. And there are some things I missed. Like at one point, Oppenheimer says when they look at me, they see a prophet. When they look at straws, they see themselves. I thought I thought he meant a prophet, as in money. Like money prophet. He means prophet like as in, you know, the messiah like a prophet. These things don't matter to most normal human beings, but I was I'm honing in on these the level of detail to say nothing of the fact of how much context the actual book American Prometheus, which won the Pulitzer like big Deal, really good book. It was a very good book. How much context I'm getting and how like there's no composite characters in this movie. That's why the cast is so big, because they're all actually based on a real person. So I go see it. Why not? I finished the screenplay. I wanted to go because I go to the movies once or twice a week and there was nothing else I wanted to see. And I went, Well, okay, actually it's not true. Okay, That was a lie. I just remember it just I had a ticket to the 2001 A Space Odyssey at the Alamo Drafthouse on Tuesday, and I refunded that and got to take it up. And I read it. Yeah. No. So then it's done. Eight, eight doesn't. There's no need for this to keep going. That's it. It's done. And then I realize there's a few BBC documentaries. I like BBC documentaries. One is called The Trial of J. Robert Oppenheimer is narrated by Campbell Scott and in reenactments, David Strathairn plays Oppenheimer. And let me tell you who watched that movie before they made Oppenheimer? Christopher Nolan Because this BBC or this rather PBS documentary is exactly like the movie, like cutting back and forth from the boardroom stuff. There's no straw stuff. I watched those. And then I thought, you know, I've only saw it on like 70 millimeter once. And so I went back to the same theater where my first disastrous screening was. And last night I saw Oppenheimer for a ninth time, and I enjoyed every minute of it. When I saw it for an eighth time, I had spent 24 hours of my life watching Oppenheimer. And now I've seen it nine times and I'm okay. And I don't know that it just happened. But again, I'm not trying to say like, if you if someone I've talked to people who the movie, they've seen it once, they don't want to go see it again because they were a little bored. And I shrug and go, Yeah, I got it. Explosion wasn't big enough. Yeah, I got it. It wasn't big enough. I'm not I'm not here to argue with you. I just think the reason why I kept going back to it is because the movie is about to leave theaters and with the except with the occasional, like bringing it back for a night or something. I'm not going to get this again. I don't know. The next time I'm going to get a 70 millimeter IMAX movie like this. And for someone who's dedicated their entire life to cinema, it means something to me and I appreciate it. So that's why I kept going back. Of course, I'm going to get the 4K as soon as it's available, but it won't be the same, and that's okay. So I was just trying to take this in as many times as possible. Obviously, when I saw it last night in 70 millimeter, it's the same print because it's literally in the exact same theater, in the exact same auditorium. And it looked like pristine the opening day, what I saw there, and I could see some wear and tear on it yesterday and I was like, this is cool. Like, that's how Gold Mirror movies used to do that. Like you. It shifted, you see, like the film grain and stuff. I don't know. So yeah, I'm just turned out that's not just nerd the hell out and really having a great time with it. I love the book. I love the screenplay. I'm reading the Bhagavad Gita right now, Oppenheimer's favorite book, Hindu scripture, because I think, you know, just trying to learn more about it, I don't know. I really like the movie. I like it a lot. Ladies and gentlemen, a timeline of obsession. I get it, man. I get it. I think there's also an element to this is that that there's it's not just the movie. It's the whole real life situation. It is not. That is correct. Yeah. The first four times was just the movie. And then I went, wait, this is this story is crazy and yet is in the movie is the I mean, this Louis Straws guy was a fucking asshole. It is so much worse. It is hinted at it suggested spoilers. I should have said that up top. I'm getting into it. If you haven't seen Oppenheimer, just stop. I guess I haven't talked about spoilers. Spoilers are starting now. Oppenheimer Spoilers, it is alluded to very fucking heavily in the book that the Casey Affleck character is responsible for killing the Florence Pugh character. It's not like suggests that it is like this is actually probably what happened because she was a known communist. It's just like the real story's crazy. So yeah, I've become like fascinated with the real story. When I sat down for my first fucking viewing of this movie, I thought J. Robert Oppenheimer was British. I did not know a single thing about the man other than he created the atomic bomb. And now I feel like I know damn near everything about him. But I don't know. It just. I became truly mesmerized with this point in time. I don't know. I just became fascinated with it and fascinated with all the people involved. So we're like living in the midst of it's not an obsession that I'm like, frantic about and like manic and scream, Oh, no, it's just wanted to have a part about it. But even Allie's like, you've never talked about a movie this much, but I'm not like you, like with waves. I went, You have to come see this for me. It's like, Yeah, it's just it's a weird. But yes, the historical aspect of it is what I'm latching onto, for sure. If I'm going to bring this back to me, please do, because, well, you know, I mean, you are an actor. I am an actor. I do actually understand what you're going through to some level. I'm not into it because there's nothing else for me to really research. But I believe I saw once upon a time in Hollywood seven or eight times, I think was probably seven in its initial run, seven times similarly to you to watch a three hour movie, more or less. Yeah, in a two month period. Now what I relate to and what you're saying is there's something that lives in this movie that you just want to be around, that that's it. It is. I feel comfortable. Yeah. There's this. There's like, this weird. I don't really know. I mean, it's easier for me to say that about Once Upon a Time in Hollywood because I just chalked it up to I want to hang out with Rick and Cliff. I just want to see what they're doing with their day. I want to live with this music. There is a little bit more for me as a fun, joyful way to go into that. But I understand that there's just this way that this movie just sort of makes you feel that you're not going to get in this way ever again. Like, I can sit back and watch Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and be like, Oh, I love this movie. This is all the thing. But I remember July and August and September of 2019 as the few months in my life where I had an affair. Yeah, I had I had a deep, like, need to just go back. I that's that's what I'm in right now. Yep. Yeah. And so this is why I'm laughing, but I'm also getting it but was cooler about your situation is that because this was based off of real people in a real situation and I mean real decades of of information and and things like that. There's so much more to dive into. Yeah. The more that you're diving into, the more that you're actually learning more because you're seeing what the movie is omitting or just subtly kind of alluding to. And you're like, Oh my God. Well, this is if the movie had more time, I'm sure it would deal with this whole entire thing. But this is how Nolan chose to specifically keep and not talk about certain things as he needed to make a movie. Yeah, he needed to make certain decisions. Exactly. And and so you're seeing what all of this is. But now knowing a further back story, there's I'm sure some people will listen to this podcast and be like, Oh my God, he's insane. I get it. I get it. I am. I get it. I think. I mean, yes, you are insane, but I love you for it. But I also think that it's honestly kind of cool. Well, that's nice. I mean, I mean, Jesus Christ, life. Life is short, you know? That's what I mean. If you're going be obsessed with something, just have fun. I'm just not doing anything wrong. You're going to be fucking wrong. You know, just. You might as well I would have people tell me, Dan, including when I was going through my once upon a time in Hollywood thing, people would make fun of me. They'd be like, I'd be like, Yeah, yeah, Are you really going again? And I go, Yeah, because you know what? Honestly, at this place in my life, there's nowhere I'd rather be. And I look back at that and I'm and I celebrate that that, that three month torrid affair with Once upon a time in Hollywood. It was it meant so much to me. The soundtrack of that movie reverberates in my head. I remember walking home and feeling like how I was feeling. I don't take back a single thing. So if this is where you're at, enjoy it. And I say, Go for a 10th time, because that way you can rounded down to the double date. I know. Because then because it's always a milestone. Now, now, now when I get into double double digits. But you know, I talk a lot about, oh, I've seen this movie this amount of times, this amount of times. And now I'm giving like an explanation of how you could see how that could happen within a freak like me. And I've written down in my phone every the date I saw Oppenheimer, like every screening. So because I want to be, you know, sure, I've done it with this. I'm doing it. I did it with the Irishman. I only saw the Irishman in theaters once, but every time I've watched it subsequently, I'm writing it down because I want to be able to track. But just really quickly, because Ali's like, What is it about the movie? And I said, I don't know, other than I find other than I find it comforting. And it's really the only movie that I can equate science and math to the creative process. To art. Yeah, implosion, vision, fusion, gas and diffusion, whatever. It's going to be, you know? I mean, I have like, the most primitive understanding possible, but I get that they get it in the way that he's cutting it together and like watching, you know. Killian Murphy just he's like, why is he throwing these glasses in the corner? It's like, Oh, I get it. And then, you know, that opening kind of montage, can you hear the music when you're just running all back and forth? And then he's staring at Picasso and the music fucking swords up and we he keeps cutting back and forth. Oppenheimer Picasso. Oppenheimer, Picasso. Most people look at a Picasso and don't understand it, but this fuckin guy does. And I get that. That's what he's telling us. I love it. And yeah, there's so much there's is so much more to the story like this. But in the end, it flash forward to him being very old and he's like getting the award in the White House. That was an award that JFK honored him for, like appointed him for and really, really wanted to give it to him. And then he was killed. So they he got that award. I'm saying like a week after JFK was killed, Jackie was actually still living in the White House and called Oppenheimer Kitty up to the quarters and was like, Jack really wanted you to have this and that, Oppenheimer said That was like the most moving moment of his life. But, you know, you can't that movie's got to keep going, keep going. But just knowing that little stuff, knowing I don't know. I love all that shit. So yes, I just wanted to share my Oppenheimer obsession. If anyone's on that train with me, there are some people on Reddit who are on the train with me. I'm too shy to comment on Reddit. I just sneak in. Look, I've never commented on Reddit or posted them. That was two and two shy, but I do. I do see people on there and I like them, so I like them real quick. I didn't know how to talk about Oscars when we recorded it. I still don't know. What I do want to say is Oppenheimer's with Easley. Obviously going to be my favorite movie of the year. This is the first movie I'm confident saying is going to be in my top ten of this decade. I don't really know where at this point. I kind of feel confident saying it'll be my we're going to do a really fun episode in January 2025, our top 25 of the century so far to start working on that. It's going to be a lot of fun ranked. It's going to be a whole lot of fun and this will be on there. I know this will be on there. This is the newest movie that I absolutely love. I think we're in the midst of a masterpiece, which it's not a word I've thrown around a lot, post-COVID. So Oscars, what's what's it going to mean? I don't know your fate. I think it's cool that your favorite movie of last year cleaned up at the Oscars. That. No, I'm just saying. No, no, no. I don't think this is going to clean up, but I do think it'll get nominated for a lot. And I do think it'll be in contention. I don't think the Oscars like Christopher Nolan very much. I think I don't know why that is. I mean, Dunkirk did win some I don't know the way this is going to go. I very easily wrote 11 possible nominations that it could get. It could that could easily be bumped up to 14, which then it would tie as the most nominated movie ever. Am I being hyperbolic or is this in play with Dune two being pushed that they would have been neck and neck for the technical awards, but now with Dune pushed to next year? I don't know what happens with Oppenheimer. I don't know. Here are the ones I wrote down and I mean this movie is going to get nominated for some I can't confidently say it'll win anything right now. I can't. They just don't vibe with Nolan that much. It opens in technical ones, but I think it could do Picture director actor for Killing Murphy. Supporting Actress. Emily Blunt. Supporting Actor. Robert Downey Jr Adapted Screenplay Score, sound, cinematography, editing and visual effects. Because even though all the effects are practical, those are still visual effects. That's 11. It could do that without breaking a sweat. This is also a period film. They like to nominate costume design. They like to nominate production design, and they age a lot of people very well in this. So this could get makeup as 14 right there. Again, don't know if it's going to happen. I don't that's very, very huge. That would be a big statement. But I think we're going to see a big showing. And I think, you know, I've talked to a lot of shit on the Oscars the past few years. I think they've struggled, struggled post-COVID because I haven't agreed with a lot of the movies they've nominated and celebrated. It's okay. And again, I don't know, maybe people turned their backs on Oppenheimer to gets nominated for nothing. I would find that very hard to believe given the amount of money it's made. But I just think we're in for an exciting end of the year. We have a lot of cool movies coming out. We have Scorsese, we have David Fincher, we have a lot of cool shit coming out. So yeah, here we are. I'm going to add one more to the list, though. Yeah, I think I think that Florence per into the supporting alongside alongside Emily Blunt you could also the more I watch it you could sneak in Damon in there for supporting actor the Oscars like Damon neither of them will replace Blunt or Downey. Those are the two premier positions. But deciding to kick Blunt up to lead actress would be a big mistake. They should know that they shouldn't do that. They should keep it supporting. But yeah. Florence Pugh If they push her to get nominated, she's not in it that much. But you know, it's a performance. Obviously a lot of people are talking about her. Some people are talking about her stupid reasons. Yes. So consensual sex in an R-rated movie. Whew. That lasts for 15 fucking seconds. That's it. You know, And if that happens, if Pugh gets nominated with the ones I mentioned and or and or Damon, then it's the most nominated film in the history of the Oscars. I don't see that for it. I slid in adapted screenplay. There is a gimme. That's not a gimme. They may not nominate him for screenplay. They may not, but we'll see. Well, I know what my what are you watching is going to be Oppenheimer. If it's still around, it would be great if you could go see it in IMAX because, man, what a what a ride. But yeah, I guess that's my. What are you watching? Can I make it to ten if there. We have a few people who I know listen to the podcast that also track what I write on letter box because I'm still in 2023. I've been logging every single movie I watch every single one, and I'm on there like Oppenheimer Number, number eight, Oppenheimer number nine. People love it. That's it. Thanks for being a good sport. Oh, your boy, David Krumholtz, is so good in the movie. I kind of stepped on it. So on the first episode, when you brought him up because I didn't know who you were going to talk about, he's so good the way like he's he just really that guy really, really loved Oppenheimer in real life. And you can see the respect there. He's great. Everyone's great. Love it. All right. Thanks, everyone. This has been Oppenheimer Anonymous here. Yes. Meaning one adjourned, meaning he was sure. We're going to keep talking about the movie when it if it's nominated for a bunch of Oscars, that's it. Go see Oppenheimer. It's about to leave. Thanks, everyone, 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, Instagram and box at WUKY w underscore podcast next time we are ready to laugh as we discuss the funniest movies we have ever seen. It's going to be a lot of fun. It's going to be funny. Stay tuned.