Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Notes on What We Do Here

Hello fans, Jack here to make an announcement of sorts.

The original plan was that Wrong With Authority would just be a new podcast, in which the four of us - me, James, Kit, and Daniel - talked about movies about historical events.  But we find ourselves chronically unable to stick to one thread and format.  As some of you may have noticed, this site changed somewhat a little while ago.  This was done to reflect the fact that 'Wrong With Authority' had obviously already become something wider than was originally intended... what with commentaries and footnotes and Drunken Whocasts, etc.  WWA even played host to a Shabcast, one month when bandwidth over at Pex Lives was running short.

'Wrong With Authority' is now effectively something akin to the banner under which we do all sorts of things.  It could even be seen as our 'band name'.  But we're still releasing podcasts called 'Wrong With Authority' which are about movies about history, and intend to continue to do so.  So what's going on?

Well, we'd like you to think of Wrong With Authority as being both our 'overall' name and the name of the podcast strand we do about movies about history.  It's a bit like when a band releases an album with the same name as the band.  Except that we're going to keep doing it over and over.

But we're also planning to have other podcast strands under the overall umbrella of Wrong With Authority, so to speak.  We've already kindasorta begun doing this, as you'll have noticed.  I mean, James Whale's Frankenstein isn't based on a historical event, is it?  We could do Bride as a WWA one day... but only the bit at the start.

Am I overthinking this, do you think?

Anyway, here's the point: the Wrong With Authority podcast will continue, as will the Drunken Whocasts, and they will be joined by another strand which we're going to call Consider the Reagan.

Eagle-eyed readers will remember that 'Consider the Ray Gun' was/is an occasional strand of Oi! Spaceman, in which Daniel chatted with a guest about a book - usually SF.  Consider the Reagan, by contrast, will usually feature all four of us (or at least two of us) doing a commentary on a film released between the inauguration of Ronald Reagan as president and the inauguration of his successor - a limit we set for ourselves in amused awareness of its spurious rigour.  The idea is for us to revisit the films of the 80s that shaped us as kids.  Our ages converge just enough that this will work - to some extent anyway.  Think of the Superman III bonus episode of Watching Robocop With Kit Power as the pilot.

The first official episode of Consider the Reagan will be along soon, and will feature myself, Daniel and Kit talking over Back to the Future.  The next episode of Wrong With Authority will be along soon too, and will feature the entire gang talking about Inherit the Wind, the classic Stanley Kramer drama from 1960 dramatising a heavily-fictionalised version of the Scopes 'Monkey Trial'.

We appreciate your patience and enthusiasm as we thrash out the exact contours of our increasingly overcomplicated nest of projects.  We're still having fun.  We hope you are too.

Yours in historical inexactitude,

Jack

Monday, 11 September 2017

Footnote #3: Frankenstein (1931)

Welcome to Wrong With Authority Footnote 3: Watching Frankenstein with James Murphy and Kit Power!

James and Kit were lucky enough to find themselves in the same room at the same time recently, and decided to just do what came naturally - i.e. break out the recording equipment and record a podcast (mind out of the gutter, you). So we sat and watched 1931’s Frankenstein, and recorded the resulting conversation, which we present here, warts and all, for your listening enjoyment.

>>DOWNLOAD HERE<<

 It’s probably best to treat this as auxiliary material to accompany WWA3, where we discussed Gods And Monsters, though this should stand alone as a fun discussion of the movie.

Also, here's something Kit wrote about Bride of Frankenstein.


Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Footnote #2: George Romero

Another Wrong With Authority 'Footnote' episode, this time featuring Daniel and Kit talking about George Romero (who probably died recently or something... I'm losing track), most specifically The Crazies and Martin.

Download >>HERE<<

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Show Notes

Main Topic: George Romero, specifically The Crazies (1973) and Martin (1977). Imposter syndrome. Critical distance. Ground Zero artist. Chutzpah. Often great without being good. Actors. Casting. Race in Night of the Living Dead. The Shield. Changing dialogue. Moving on to The Crazies. First the 2010 version. Justified. Crazies as a thematic sequel. Gun control. Vietnam in Pennsylvania. Survivalist Armageddon. Representations of the military. Hero entrance. Spark of genius. Ableist title. Oversignification. Adaptation of an art film. Irrationalism as overarching theme. Immune survivor. The love triange. Father/daughter rape scene. Cozy horror iconography. Incestuous. Parallel narratives. Gas masks. Back to the Future. Trapped in a gym. Bleak George. Nuclear cynicism. Personal malice. The poison isn't the bacterium. Subversive art. Romero the hippie. Romero and the moneychangers. Moving on to Martin. One long rape scene. Censorship. Kit's history with Martin. Toxic masculinity. Sympathetic murderer/rapist. "Involuntary celibates." Amplas and vulnerability. Ducking syndrome. Romantic vampire myth. "The Moffat Effect." Unreliable. Are the murders real? Dreamlike. Fantasy seduction. Misogynist men. Dehumanization. Butchery. Adult material on developing brains. Porn and existentialism. "How bad can human nature get?" Intimate. Black and white sequences. Innocent versus good. Coming to adulthood. Understanding the ending. The one he didn't do. Sleeping teenagers. Virtuoso middle. Stumbling Daniel. Walkie-talkie. Guillotine. "Fuck the New Atheists." Ambiguity. The priest portrayed by George Romero. Impurity and the mark of the outsider. Reinforcing stereotypes and The Bad Seed. Monsters as postmodern construct. Wrapping Up.

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Thursday, 27 July 2017

Episode Five: Mississippi Burning

Wrong With Authority, the podcast where four white guys talk about movies based on real historical events, returns... and this time we're talking about Mississippi Burning (1988), a travesty of the story of three civil rights workers - Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman - who were murdered in Mississippi in 1964 by the Klan/cops/state government (all essentially the same thing at that point).

Download our episode >>HERE<<

Beware triggers.  We're talking about vicious racism, hate-motivated violence and murder.  At one point in the episode, one of us reads out part of a historical document which contains the n-word.  We believe the context justifies its inclusion, but please be aware that it's there.  Jack made the decision to not bleep it out, and takes responsibility.  Also, we mention rape a couple of times - because it was an integral part of both Jim Crow and slavery.

The film focuses not on the Civil Rights workers, or the struggle, or the African Americans oppressed by Jim Crow (American Apartheid), but rather on the subsequent FBI investigation.  It portrays the FBI as a heroic organisation bursting with concerned liberals, but also as solving the case via maverick vigilante violence.  Systemic racism is effaced.  In other words, according to Mississippi Burning, black people are invisible, or are passive and cowardly; Civil Rights workers are foolhardy victims; and the problem is neatly solved by a benevolent establishment going righteously outside the law to punish the bad guys - bad apples who are bad because they're just inbred hicks.

With this episode, we're all acutely and especially aware of the structural flaws inherent in our show... i.e. we're all white guys.  This episode is, nonetheless, an attempt to grapple with the fact that WWA has, up til now, been heavily white-centric.  But we're inevitably going to underperform here.  We in no way wish to talk over PoC who are talking about issues like this.  We'll be happy to hear input and criticism.

[Jack here to add a personal note: I deliberately chose Mississippi Burning to address the overpowering whiteness of our subjects to date... which shows a fair bit of privilege and privilege-blindness on my part because a) Mississippi Burning isn't about African Americans, as mentioned... in fact, it is a film that thieves an African American story from African Americans, and b) I unthinkingly chose a story about African Americans suffering, and which portrays them as passive victims.  I'll try to do better in future.  I can only hope our critique of this film on these terms stands for something.]

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Some Links To Things Menioned in the Episode:

The Invention of the White Race by Theodore W. Allen.

We Are Not Afraid by Seth Cagin and Philip Dray.

I Am Not Your Negro - new documentary about James Baldwin.

The 13th - documentary based on The New Jim Crow.

Do The Right Thing - Spike Lee's classic.

The Butler

The Garrett video Jack mentions.

Here's the article written by Chris Gerolmo, Mississippi Burning screewriter.

A Star Called Henry by Roddy Doyle.

Shabcast 20, in which Jack and James talked religion, etc.


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Some Links to Other Interesting and Connected Things:

Here's information about the real case upon which the film is loosely based.

Here's Neshoba, a documentary about the case.

While searching for the bodies of Schwerner, Chaney, and Goodman, the FBI found the bodies of two other black Mississippians murdered by the Klan, Charles Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee.

Here's a history and overview of the Klan, from the Southern Policy Law Centre.

Hooded Americanism: The History of the Ku Klux Klan by David M. Chalmers.

At The Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America by Philip Dray

Here's some info about COINTELPRO, the FBI's covert criminal conspiracy to infiltrate, attack and destroy the American Left, and particularly African American leaders and the Civil Rights movement.

The Black Panthers and the FBI's war against them.

Here's Marx talking about the role of slavery in the rise of capitalism.



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The music in this episode is 'Strange Fruit' sung by Billie Holiday, 'Mississippi Goddamn' sung by Nina Simone, and 'A Change is Gonna Come' sung by Sam Cooke.

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Mississippi Burning (1988), d. Alan Parker; screenplay by Chris Gerolmo.  Starring Gene Hackman, Willem Dafoe, Frances McDormand, Brad Dourif, Stephen Tobolowsky, R. Lee Ermey, Michael Rooker, Gailard Sartain, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Kevin Dunn, and Badja Djola.



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"How long will we have to wait before Hollywood finds the courage and the integrity to tell the stories of some of the many thousands of black men, women and children who put their lives on the line for equality?" - Coretta Scott King, partner and widow of Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr.

"It was unfortunate that it was so narrow in scope that it did not show one black role model that today's youth who look at the movie could remember." - Myrlie Evers-Williams, partner and widow of Medgar Evers.

"a film that used the deaths of the boys as a means of solving the murders and the FBI being heroes." - Carolyn Goodman, mother of Andrew Goodman.

"... the image that younger people got (from the film) about the times, about Mississippi itself and about the people who participated in the movement being passive, was pretty negative and it didn't reflect the truth." - Ben Chaney Jnr., brother of James Chaney.

"[a] terribly dishonest and very racist [film that] distorts the realities of 1964" - Stephen Schwerner, brother of Michael Schwerner.

 - via Wikipedia

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¡No PasarĂ¡n!

Monday, 29 May 2017

Footnote #1: Zodiac

A little extra treat for our devoted listeners.  A bonus 'mini' episode (by which I mean it's only 2hrs 40), featuring just Daniel and Jack talking about the 2007 David Fincher movie Zodiac.

Download >>HERE<<

As usual, watch out for SPOILERS and TRIGGERS.

We may occasionally produce irregular 'footnote' episodes such as these. 

The so-called 'Zodiac' was a serial killer who haunted San Francisco and its environs in the late 60s and early 70s, and who was never caught or identified.  The movie is based on Robert Graysmith's best-selling book about the case, and purports to tell both Graysmith's own story and to (maybe) unmask the killer.  Listen to find out what Daniel thinks about these claims.

This episode is a compliment to a forthcoming episode of the They Must Be Destroyed On Sight! podcast (on which Daniel is also a co-host), which will also look at Zodiac, probably from a different standpoint.  Be sure to check that out, along with TMBDOS generally.

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Zodiac, 2007, directed by David Fincher, written by James Vanderbilt, based on the book by Robert Graysmith.  Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jnr., Mark Ruffalo, Elias Koteas, Donal Logue, Chloe Sevigny, Brian Cox, and John Carroll Lynch.


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Episode Notes:

Main Topic: Zodiac (2007). But first, a thirteen minute riff on superhero movies. Token. Is Jack the Zodiac? Aren't we all the Zodiac? Unsolved mysteries. "Curtain rods everybody." Not to interrupt. Jack projects. General thoughts of the film. Fincher as director. Quality pastiche. Empty. JFK versus Zodiac. "The look." The radian theory. Pattern-seeking behavior. Marrying Chloe Sevigny. No social turmoil. Daniel pours a beer. Misogynist Zodiac Killer. Daniel projects. DNA. The guilt of Arthur Leigh Allen. Lingering fascination with history. Ferrin and the painting party. Two previous victims. Avery's discovery of a possible Zodiac victim. Missing evidence. Evidence presented by the film. 1978 letter not real. ALA lived near the IHOP? Ferrin trying to get weed. Ferrin's humanity. Inaccuracies in the opening sequence. Verisimilitude. Fake docudrama. "Graysmithed." A Current Affair. Toschi the camera hog. Searching the trailer. Not a good guy. The Dick Cheney joke doesn't land. Graysmith is always wrong. An aside about Steven Knight. Paranoid Graysmith. Fleischer as Vaughn. Papering over mistakes. Gay porn. Alt-right and the serial killer. The trailer search. Why the fascination? Displaced interest in history. Prickle and salaciousness. Puzzles and connections. Storytelling as justice. The ciphers. Serious droopy. Escalation. Earlier victims? Paul Avery. Handwriting. Ambidextrous. Seven versus Zodiac. Figures of intense anxiety. Looking for a black guy. Johnnie Cochran reference. Daniel pours another beer. In the past. Pitiful. Pepe the Zodiac. Infodump education. Murderous retail. Police files. Siding with Graysmith. Wallace Penny/Penny Wallace. Reading Graysmith? Faces in the dark. Gay Ellroy. The ending. Graysmith the hero. The poster. Wrapping Up.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Episode Four: The Wolf of Wall Street & The Big Short

Wrong With Authority returns with the last episode in our first cycle, this time hosted by Kit.  It's a two-part episode this time, because... well... it's a long one.  But please stick with it, because it's a great show and we're all proud of it.  And we sweated blood over it.  Seriously, it's been a bastard, this one.  It's our Apocalypse Now.  A huge, bloated monster that has left a trail of nervous breakdowns in its path.

Downloads: PART 1 & PART 2

As ever, beware spoilers, and also beware triggers.  (Seriously, this one contains discussion of scenes of sexual abuse, domestic violence, drug use, racism, etc.)

Our movies this time are...

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), Martin Scorsese's biopic of human garbage con-man Jordan Belfort, based on his two autobiographical book-type objects.  Written by Terence Winter.  Starring Leonardo "Sprout-Face" DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Jonah Hill, Rob Reiner, Joanna Lumley, and Kyle Chandler.




and...

The Big Short (2015), the fictionalised movie version of Michael Lewis' book about how and why the financial crash of 2007-08 happened, and the gaggle of Wall Street guys who saw it coming, and heroically set about profiting from it.  Directed by Adam McKay, and written by McKay and Charles Randolph.  Starring Christian Bale, Steven Carell, Ryan Gosling, Marissa Tomei, Melissa Leo, and Brad Pitt.  And featuring celebrity cameos from Margot Robbie, Anthony Bourdain, Selena Gomez and, er, Richard Thaler.





Thursday, 2 March 2017

Episode Three: Shadow of the Vampire & Gods and Monsters

Wrong With Authority is back from the dead, hosted by James this time, with an episode looking at two movies about the creators of classic horror cinema.

Download >>here<<

As ever, beware spoilers, and also one or two possible triggers.

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Shadow of the Vampire (2000) is the fictionalised story of genius director F.W. Murnau, actor Max Schreck, and the making of classic silent horror Nosferatu, but with a twist...  


Directed by E. Elias Merhige, written by Stephen Katz, and starring John Malkovich, Willem Defoe, Caroline McCormack, Udo Kier, Eddie Izzard, and Cary Elwes.  

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Gods and Monsters (1998) is the fictionalised story of the last days in the life of James Whale, the director of classic Universal horror films, including Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein.  


Directed and written by Bill Condon, based on the novel Father of Frankenstein by Christopher Bram, and starring Ian McKellen, Brendan Fraser, Lynn Redgrave and Lolita Davidovitch.