Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid

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Story: PI Reardon is hired by a beautiful woman to investigate her father’s death and finds himself in a web of betrayal, violence, and old movies.  That’s noir, Jack.

Detective: Rigby Reardon

Release Date: May 21, 1982

Writer: Carl Reiner, George Gipe, and Steve Martin

Source: Every noir mystery ever filmed.

Mystery Analysis:
Detective as protagonist?

Lani: Sure.

Murderer as antagonist?
Jenny: Yes, at least he’s the guy sending out henchmen.
Lani: I… suppose? Still not clear on what role he actually played. Usually that’s my fault for not paying close enough attention, but this time, I’m willing to blame the movie.

Conflict created by murder?
Jenny: The story is so badly handled I have no idea why a lot of that stuff was happening.  The plot was just an excuse to be cute with old movies, so there wan’t much coherent conflict.
Lani: The conflict was created by staying true to a gimmick, rather than the story.

Fair play with all the clues given?
Jenny: Well, we knew everything Rigby knew, but Rigby is an idiot.
Lani: Were there clues? If I have to ask that question, I think maybe… not?

Solved using deduction, not luck?
Jenny: Solved using old movie clips.  But yes, he gets to the final scene by deducton.
Lani: He followed clue to clue in a straight line, and he had to put the puzzle pieces together in order to do that so I’d give a provisional yes.

Story Analysis & Ratings:

Jenny says: 2Pops
Mystery: 1, Craft: 1, Suspense: 1, Romance: 1, Comedy: 1  I’d give zeros if I could, and for the romance I’d go into nedgative numbers for the date-rape intro.  Bleah.

Lani says: 0 Pops
Mystery: 0, Craft: 0, Suspense: 0, Romance: 0, Comedy: 0

High Anxiety

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Story: Dr. Richard H. Thorndyke, arrives as new administrator of The Psycho-Neurotic Institute for the Very, Very Nervous and then things happen that make him very, very nervous.

Detective: Dr. Richard H. Thorndyke

Release Date: December 25, 1977

Writers: Mel Brooks, Ron Clark, Rudy DeLuca, Barry Levinson

Every Hitchcock movie ever made.

Mystery Analysis:
None of this stuff.  Not a mystery, just a string of Hitchcock jokes.

Story Analysis & Ratings:

Jenny says: 0 Pops
Mystery: 0, Craft: 0, Suspense:0, Romance: 0, Comedy: 0

Lani says: 0 Pops
Mystery: 0, Craft: 0, Suspense: 0, Romance: 0, Comedy: 0

Comic Mysteries

Welcome to April Fools Month: Comic mysteries.

Here’s the thing about mixing mystery and comedy: you’re trying to mesh a serious threat to humanity, real tragedy, with laughter.  It can certainly be done, but usually you have to sacrifice either the light-hearted part of comedy (see Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang) or the tragic part of murder (see Trenchcoat), and either choice kneecaps that part of the genre.  So while we’ll be sticking to our six main points, we’re also going to be looking at the choices the writers made as to what to sacrifice.  Mel Brooks let go of tragedy without a backward glance in High Anxiety (the next two aren’t really deep either, but then they didn’t want to be), but there’s some stuff going on in the last two movies that will hold up under a closer look.  Mostly we’ll be looking at how these movies did or did not make death a laughing matter in order to steal what works for our own books.  Just kidding.  Kinda.

Our schedule for posting podcasts:
(Ignore what we said in the podcast about doing Hot Fuzz first; this is the schedule.)

April 2: 1977 HIGH ANXIETY (streaming on Amazon)

April 9: 1982 DEAD MEN DON’T WEAR PLAID (streaming on Amazon)

April 15: 1985 CLUE (streaming on Amazon)

April 22: 1998 THE BIG LEBOWSKI (streaming on Amazon and Netflix)

April 29: 2007 HOT FUZZ (streaming on Amazon) Warning: Lots of gore in this one

What We Learned From the PopD RomCom Series

This is a chat that Lani and I did trying to sum up what we learned from last year’s romcom series.  We wander around a bit, but I think we pretty much covered everything.  This is cross-posted on Argh Ink and the Lucy March site, too.

Jenny: So what have we learned from nine months of PopD, Lucy? First: character. Character, character, character.

Lucy: Character is sacred. Always.

Jenny: In a rom com, it’s because it sells why we should want these two characters to be together, and why we care desperately if they’re not. In It Happened One Night, you really want them together, especially after the scene in the motel where they pretend to be married. I think that’s key, making the reader really need for these two people to be together.

Lucy: Absolutely. And how is the humor handled. It should come from character, not from jokes. That’s a comedy with a romance tacked on.

Jenny: A shared sense of humor is one way to show they’re in sync. They’re laughing at the same things. Think It Happened One Night, Desk Set, Two Weeks Notice. That’s one way to keep the reader wanting them together: they’re not just working together, they’re fun to be with, both for each other and for the reader.

Lucy: Laughing at the same things – not at each other. No humiliation (Two Weeks Notice, I’m looking at you.) Continue reading

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.
Get the podcast: [Listen here at PopD] | [Go to iTunes]

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