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

6 responses to “Ep. 51: Sneakers”

  1. I think Sneakers is Alastair’s Philadelphia Story. I seem to remember Lucy had quite an emotional attachment to it even though there was agreement that it was flawed.

    I’m guessing there’s a chapter on Prologues in the PopD book. Right?

    I think I mentioned in the chat something about Redford’s acting abilities. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll watch almost anything he’s in and I’d pick him for just about any group I was putting together whether it was a movie, dodgeball or a bar fight, but his range is not great. He has wonderful mannerisms and subtly but I never feel a sense of tension in his work. He wasn’t the actor for this role. He doesn’t have the edge for this role. The subtly – yes. Edge – no, and I think this is why we don’t feel a sense of danger for him. There might also be issues in the writing but I know there are issues in the acting.

    I’m also one of those, along with Alastair, who’s seen this movie numerous times and who always enjoys it. Flaws and all. I like the intellectual challenge. I like the post-Cold War components. And, yes, as much as I think Redford was wrong for this, I probably did go see it originally because he was in it.

  2. Just wanted to say I enjoyed the hell out of this podcast.

    And that I think the movie media form has a tendency to take a much longer time in the ordinary world than you could get away with in books. I’m trying to think of any of my favorite movies that start where the story starts and I have trouble. The Mummy starts with a prologue. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang starts when Harold and Harmony are kids. I’m not sure of Ocean’s 11 opening. Is it really necessary to start with the parole hearing…Yeah. Back To the Future maybe. The guitar scene isn’t important, but it gives Marty a reason for being in Doc’s house and that leads to him meeting at Twin Pines.

    So, it’s the media form. Not defending it. lol. I once came across a 30+ page prologue. *shudder*

  3. I agree that movies can get away with starting slower. Who’s going to get up and leave once you’ve paid your ticket and gotten your popcorn?
    I just don’t think they should start slower.

    Glad you liked the podcast!

  4. I don’t mind this prologue. Either of them. But I think I’m more tolerant of prologues in general than you guys are (at least in movies). What I can’t stand is the time jump from mortal-peril-scene to “3 Days Earlier.” So I guess it’s more a matter of comparison/lesser evil in my case 🙂

    As far as not being emotionally engaged, that’s not a problem I really have with this movie, but I think my engagement comes more from my attachment to the team as a whole than from Marty. Jumping ahead a little, Ocean’s 11 is the one I have no emotional investment in for this series, but I’ll save that for when we get there.

  5. I think everybody is more tolerant of prologues than I am. But I’m with you on that damn time jump. Some really good shows are doing it and they get nothing from it. Annoying as hell.

  6. The only part of this movie that I recall some mumblty-mumble years later, is when they tell the woman “and give him head as much as he wants.” And the only reason that’s stayed in my memory was because it was a great surprise to see Sidney Poitier snickering like Beavis or Butthead. I’m so used to seeing him play dignified (“they call me Mr. Tibbs”) that I was shocked.