Ep. 53: Ocean’s 11

George Clooney’s Danny Ocean wants the impossible — to steal $150 million from the three largest casinos in Las Vegas, and to make the audience care about his relationship with Julia Roberts. Spoilers: he’s only half successful.
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Story Analysis & Ratings:

Lucy says: 5 Pops ~ Lucy’s comments are coming soon.
Lucy’s rating breakdown: Craft: 5, Comedy: 5, Romance: 1, Suspense: 5

Alastair says: 5 Pops ~ A fast, fun movie, featuring the best heist of the series. The character work is deft and insightful, with the sole exception of Tess, but not even the lackluster romance can bring this film down. Excellent.
Alastair’s rating breakdown: Craft: 5, Comedy: 5, Romance: 1, Suspense: 5

Blog Poll Rating: Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Read the chat transcript here!

Movie Info:

Story: Danny Ocean and his team of eleven plan to rob a Las Vegas casino baron. Release Date: December 7, 2001 Writer: Ted Griffin

Ep. 51: Sneakers

A little later than originally planned, Jenny and Alastair discuss this thoughtful, well-written and prescient caper — but do the flaws in the craft spoil an otherwise excellent film?
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Story Analysis & Ratings:

Alastair says: 5 Pops ~ This certainly isn’t a perfect movie, but it does so much right that I’m willing to overlook the cracks in the foundation. Great character writing, smart dialogue, and an interesting central question invigorate what is otherwise a fairly straightforward — and oddly dispassionate — caper.
Alastair’s rating breakdown: Craft: 4, Comedy: 5, Suspense: 4

Jenny says: 3 Pops ~ Start where the story starts with your protagonist in trouble, and then make sure the story is ABOUT your protagonist . . . even if you do everything else beautifully, if you screw up those two things, you’re toast. Or a 3.
Jenny’s rating breakdown: Craft: 3, Comedy: 5, Suspense: 3

Blog Poll Rating: TBD

Read the chat transcript here!

Movie Info:

Story: After being conned into a stealing a black box, a group of security experts plan a heist to even the score. Release Date: September 9, 1992 Writer: Phil Alden Robinson, Lawrence Lasker, & Walter F. Parkes

Ep. 50: The Italian Job

Lord, it wasn’t good. A weak protagonist stumbles through a largely incoherent plot, only to arrive at the worst ending in cinematic history. Sounds like a fun show!
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Story Analysis & Ratings:

Alastair says: 1 Pop ~ I’m guilty, perhaps, of defending the indefensible, but I find The Italian Job to be an interesting failure, if only for the utter opacity and vindictive antagonism of its storytelling. I don’t hate it as much as Jenny or Lucy did, but I look forward to never seeing it again.
Alastair’s rating breakdown: Craft: 1, Comedy: 2, Suspence: 1

Jenny says: 1 Pop ~ This is the worst storytelling in PopD history. The protagonist is unlikable (and it’s Michael Caine, too, so how can that be?), the antagonist is confusing, the goal is uninspiring, and the plot is incomprehensible. Throw in Benny Hill and you have a Perfect Storm of Awful.
Jenny’s rating breakdown: Craft: 1, Comedy: 1, Suspense: 1

Blog Poll Rating: TBD

Click here to read the chat transcript!

Movie Info:

Story: Michael Caine steals again, this time a gold shipment. Release Date: Sept. 3, 1969 Writer: Troy Kennedy-Martin

Ep. 43: Killers


A movie that would have benefited greatly from the writers knowing what story they were telling. Still, Catherine O’Hara makes it worth watching.

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Story Analysis & Ratings:

Lucy says: 2 Pops ~ Again, I have to say – “I’m hot, you’re hot” does not a romance make. Ashton Kutcher is much better in this than he typically gets credit for, but the dialogue was so leaden and the heroine written with such antipathy that even the good stuff – and there is some good stuff here, love the suburban neighborhood turning into a mass of killers – gets weighted down with the crap.

Lucy’s rating breakdown: Craft: 2, Romance: 1, Action: 2, Comedy: 3

Jenny says: 2 Pops ~ Ashton Kutcher deserves better than this and so does Catherine O’Hara. I’m coming around to Lucy’s argument that the first half hour is prologue and the story really starts half an hour in, and it’s the hitman’s story again as assassins come out of the woodwork to take a $20 mill bounty on him. Unfortunately he’s married to a mostly-bubble-head and even once the shooting starts, his goal is muddled beyond trying to stay alive. Very like Mr. & Mrs. Smith, it’s a good premise bobbled.

Jenny’s rating breakdown: Craft: 1, Romance: 1, Action: 2, Comedy: 4

Blog Poll Rating: TBD

Read the chat here!

Movie Info:

Story: A vacationing woman meets her ideal man, leading to a swift marriage. Back at home, however, their idyllic life is upset when they discover their neighbors could be assassins who have been contracted to kill the couple. Release Date: June 4, 2010. Writers: Bob DeRosa and Ted Griffin

Ep. 42: The Baker aka Assassin in Love

Lucy thinks this movie was funny; sometimes.  Jenny thinks it’s a crime against storytelling.

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Story Analysis & Ratings:

Lucy says: 1.25 Pops ~A charming setting and a solid premise are taken down by hubris and inexperienced storytelling. Damn shame.

Lucy’s rating breakdown: Structure:1, Comedy: 2, Romance:1, Action-Adventure: 1

Jenny says: 1 Pop ~ Easily in the bottom ten films I’ve seen in my lifetime (and I’m old).  Terrible waste of good actors, great photography.  Awful, awful, awful storytelling.

Jenny’s rating breakdown: Structure: 1, Comedy: 1, Romance: 1, Action-Adventure: 1

Blog Poll Rating: TBD

Read the chat here!

Movie Info:

Story: A hit man has second thoughts about his career and seeks refuge from his boss by finding work as a baker in a rural Welsh village. Release Date: May 28, 2008.  Writer: Gareth Lewis (also directed).