Rob Caravaggio Commentaries



Alternative audio commentaries on movies [email protected]


  • The Searchers (1956) Audio Commentary


    This man, though not a real Native American, has a great head of hairRC-2015-101: The Searchers (1956) Your browser does not support this audio I've once again teamed up with the King of Commentaries himself, Tysto, to talk through another great western. We find much to like, love, and laugh at in John Ford's VistaVision classic. Discussion wanders between the winds like an eye-less Comache to cover the long shadow of influence cast by the film (Star Wars, Scorsese, Buddy Holly), the liabilities of Jeffrey Hunter's performance, and Tysto's fascinating family history (his ancestors once kidnapped Natalie Wood's sister!). We also extol the virtues of wearing suspenders with jeans (well, I do) and stare longingly at Mose Harper's ripped-to-shreds six-pack abs. Why not take off your spurs and join us?Show NotesThe true story of Cynthia Ann ParkerThe "You Must Remember This" podcast episode about Wayne's war (non)recordJonathan Lethem's essay "Defending the Searchers" is actually viewable on Google BooksGeorge

  • The Big Lebowski (1998) Audio Commentary


    Zen and shiftlessness are often indistinguishable from one anotherRC-2014-102: The Big Lebowski (1998) Your browser does not support this audio Now that the National Film Registry has deemed Lebowski "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant," I thought it the perfect time to delve into the Coen's 1998 comedy/noir/half-assed thinkpiece on Reagan-era zeitgeist. I get lost in the beautiful shadow work of Deakins, point out relevant tropes found throughout the Coen's work, and speculate about what people will remember the day John Turturro dies. After explaining exactly what I think the movie's themes are, I decide that it doesn't matter because the Coens don't really mean any of it.Show NotesDocumentary about Lebowski cultureWilliam Kunstler documentaryThe Wikpedia page for Ron Kuby actually mentions his being name-checked in the film (I didn't mention that he and Kunstler were friends)Brunswick actually makes all kinds of shit, not just bowling and billiardsRoger & Gene's original rev

  • The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (1967) Audio Commentary


    The late Eli Wallach, the star of and secret sauce in The Good, the Bad and the UglyRC-2014-101: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1967) Your browser does not support this audio Reflect on the recent passing of Eli Wallach by re-watching his finest hour. Which was actually three hours. I team up with the grand poo-bah of fan commentaries, Tysto, for an appraisal of Sergio Leone's classic. We converse about firearms, Steve McQueen (Bullitt, not 12 Years a Slave), and the movie's leisurely-but-cinematic storytelling. We also laugh at the antics of Tuco and at the over-representation of characters named "Shorty."To sync, hit "pause" after the MGM logo fades to black. Show NotesVisit and for tons of fan commentariesI incorrectly referred to the film Winchester '73 as "Winchester '76"The John Ford picture Two Rode Together (1961)A nice remembrance of Wallach by Richard CorlissDownload the mp3, or mosey on over to iTunes.

  • All the President's Men (1976) Audio Commentary


    Robert Redford discusses strategy for the staring contest he's about to have with the cameraRC-2013-114: All the President's Men (1976) Your browser does not support this audio Perhaps the greatest typewriter fetishist movie ever! Focusing on storytelling, I describe how Goldman's script hinges on scene-by-scene conflict and speculate about the mysterious Ephron-Bernstein draft. I argue that Woodstein's reporting was unbiased, then revel in my own bias by audibly scoffing at the idea that Nixon was a "complicated" figure who "also did some good things." Amid analysis of the actual movie, I explain why Nixon was a racist, astonishingly petty, and hopelessly corrupt scoundrel who got off easy. Gordy Willis and John Dean get praised. G. Gordon Liddy and the Intelligent Design-promoting crybaby known as Ben Stein get criticized. I screened the Blu-Ray. To sync, hit "pause" when the Warner Bros. logo fades to black.Show NotesRedford's documentaryGoldman's script

  • The Master (2012) Audio Commentary


    You have to admit—some of those ink blotches do look sexualRC-2013-103: The Master (2012) Your browser does not support this audioPaul Thomas Anderson's The Master will be released on home media later this month—I'm on top of it. After making listeners jealous by bragging about being one of the lucky few who got to see the film projected properly on glorious 70 mm, I heap praise on DP Mihai Malamare for his use of the old-school film stock—the clarity, the depth of field, the rosy red colors of Philip Seymour Hoffman's nose! Noting that many were perplexed by the movie, I go on to explain my pet theories about What It All Means. The commentary spirals into a little bit of love fest, with me ladling more compliments on the casting choices and Anderson's daring, to-hell-with-convention screenwriting. I then go crazy by having the audacity to mildly criticize His Excellency Harvey Weinstein, resigning myself to never working in this town again. Questions addressed include: Which scenes are actually dreams? How

  • Margaret (Extended Cut) (2011) Audio Commentary


    Lisa Cohen, interested in her teacher. RC-2013-104: Margaret (Extended Cut) (2011) Your browser does not support this audioIt took a while, but Kenneth Lonergan's follow up to You Can Count On Me finally got seen by audiences in 2011. During the marathon commentary (for, Lonergan's extended cut stretches past the three-hour mark), I go into the legal wrangling that delayed the release of Margaret. I comment on the theatrical cut's benefit's and shortcomings before declaring that Lonergan's cut—the film he turned in—is a masterpiece. (Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker oversaw the editorial paring-down process that produced the theatrical cut, and though Lonergan ultimately approved, I will argue in this episode, he knew his cut was better.) After pointing out some of the differences between the cuts—which include everything from sound design to score to whole storylines that were excised—I settle into gush mode and praise the film's fresh approach to familiar themes. I spend the rest of the epi

  • The Sopranos (S1E1) "The Sopranos" (1999) Audio Commentary


    Tony in the pool. No ducks.RC-2013-118: The Sopranos (S1E1) "The Sopranos" (1999) Your browser does not support this audio With the recent passing of James Gandolfini, I felt it'd be a good time to do something I'd been meaning to do: a commentary on The Sopranos. I begin by candidly acknowledging my love for the show, ladling praise on David Chase and the late Gandolfini before explaining the series' significance. The show had a truly unique sense for the surreal and a wonderful sense of humor, I decide, and that's what set it apart in its genre. While describing how the pilot episode is different from the body of the series, I find time to wax nostalgic about how perfectly of its time The Sopranos was and explain the family's intricate hierarchy. Then I drop a bunch of Italian curse words. Salud!Download the mp3, or let iTunes break your balls.

  • Scarlet Street (1945) Audio Commentary


    The "self portrait" of Kitty March, Joan Bennett's fast-talking femme fatale who steals Edward G. Robinson's heart in Fritz Lang's film noir, Scarlet Street RC-2013-108: The Film Noir Series—Scarlett Street (1945) Your browser does not support this audio Ask a person to name her five favorite Fritz Lang films, and you're not likely to hear Scarlet Street. Yet it has all we've come to love about Lang—and about film noir. Inside the dusty B-movie packaging we find a big star, Edward G. Robinson, playing somewhat against type as a meek cashier named Chris Cross. As we watch the noir vortex suck him in, my heavily shadowed commentary addresses the ongoing debate over film noir's definition, the way Fritz Lang utilizes his roots in German expressionism, and the snappy dialogue of Dudley Nichols' screenplay. I'm also able to put my love of the film aside long enough to discuss the fascinating life and career of Robinson and the even more fascinating life of Joan Bennett, the

  • Ace in the Hole (1951) Audio Commentary


    Kirk Douglas, Porter Hall, and Jesus Christ debate journalistic ethics in Billy Wilder's Ace in the Hole (Douglas had top billing)RC-2013-116: Ace in the Hole (1951)Your browser does not support this audio More thrilling than going over Niagara Falls in Kirk Douglas' barrel chest, Ace in the Hole stands tall among the giants of Wilder's career. I praise the wittiness of the dialogue and marvel at the depravity of Douglas' character, Chuck Tatum. Musings about journalistic ethics give way to my ranking of the movie near the top of Wilder's filmography. Do I successfully spot all the nods to Double Indemnity? Does Douglas' topless scene have artistic merit? And does the boyish Herbie character moonlight as Captain Marvel? Listen to the track to find out. You deserve answers.I screened the Region-1 Criterion Collection DVD. To sync, hit "pause" after the Criterion logo fades from the screen, then wait for my countdown.Show NotesThe curious case of Floyd CollinsSpike Lee is a fan of the filmIs it a film

  • Laura (1944) Audio Commentary


    Gene Tierney was so hot that she could make a frumpy rain hat look sexyRC-2013-112: The Film Noir Series — Laura (1944)Your browser does not support this audioOtto Preminger's Laura is beloved by many a noir aficionado, and I'm out to figure out why. (Could it have something to do with Gene Tierney being nuclear hot? Hells yeah.) I have fun with the movie, lamenting the fact that the opening titles sequence wasn't created by Saul Bass and declaring that Preminger's directorial style is "slick." Listeners might begin to suspect that there isn't an actor from the 30s and 40s that I don't adore as I swoon over the verbal acuity of Clifton Webb, the implacable demeanor of Dana Andrews, and the radioactive...uh, talent of Tierney. Along the way, I analyze the bizarro story story structure, discuss Daryl F. Zanuck's alleged homophobia, and examine the lapels on Vinny Price's double-breasted suits. Due to the Rank Speculation software I have running on my brain, I also speak about how Laura

  • Fargo (1996) Audio Commentary


    You're licked, Jerry Lundegaard RC-2012-101: Fargo (1996) Your browser does not support this audioIn this episode, we explore the 1996 film Fargo, directed by Joel Coen. Topics  include the subtle cinematic language employed by the brothers Coen to reflect Jerry Lundegaard's troubled psyche, the art of a great movie car chase, and why that guy Mike Yanagita comes out of nowhere halfway through the film. Unlike the movie, no parking lot attendants were harmed in the making of this commentary track. Don't forget to use the countdown (given at the 1:55 mark) to synchronize the commentary to your own copy of the movie.Listen to the mp3. Or, get it from iTunes.

  • The Hustler (1961) Audio Commentary


    Piper Laurie works on her cursive in The HustlerRC-2012-102: The Hustler (1961) Your browser does not support this audio This time, Rob straps in for the epic tale of "Fast" Eddie Felson, played by Paul Newman, in one of the most lauded films of 1961. Musings include the inside dope on the pocket billiards wizardry depicted in the movie, the curious case of Piper Laurie's hairdo, and the transcendent force of nature known as George C. Scott. This is one of the great, gritty, and ultimately tragic CinemaScope masterpieces of the period. 1.) Keep eyes peeled for Jake LaMotta's cameo as a bartender, and 2.) keep ears peeled for the sync-point countdown given at around the 1:35 mark and corresponding to the black-and-white 20th Century Fox logo that begins the film.Listen to the mp3. Or get your iTunes on.

  • Poolhall Junkies (2002) Audio Commentary


    Mars makes moneyRC-2013-117: Poolhall Junkies (2002) Your browser does not support this audio Grab a cuestick (hopefully a non-graphite one) and let's play some with the greatest pool movie of all time! Well, okay, it's a pool movie, anyway. And just as Mars Callahan's directorial debut vacillates between Farrelly brothers-style comedy and over-cranked melodrama so too does my commentary shift from poolroom subculture nitpicking to a slightly more charitable assessment of the script. Along the way, I take time to marvel at the surplus of supporting characters, sigh at the zany plot contrivances, and gripe about the film's inconsistent ethos regarding the N-word. Forget pool—this movie had me at Ernie Reyes Jr.I screened the Region-1 DVD. To sync, hit "pause" when the Gold Circle Films logo fades to black, then hit "play" on my countdown.  Show NotesMike Massey's "finger pool" (think it looks easy?—try it) Rick Schroeder talks about his crazy-ass lifePoker Junkies is comingThat MadTV pool ske

  • The Color of Money (1986) Audio Commentary - The Scorsese Series


    Tom Cruise shoots his new look on the set of The Color of Money—"Blue Steel" meet "Balabushka"RC-2012-103 (The Scorsese Series): The Color of Money (1986) Your browser does not support this audio Following up on our previous adventure with The Hustler, Rob explores a movie that for many constitutes "lesser Scorsese"—1986's The Color of Money. Among other things, this commentary touches upon the impressive lead performances, the perennial manic weirdness of Tom Cruise, and the pitch-perfect supporting turns by a bearded John Turturro and a somehow already-awesome Forest Whittaker. The sync point is announced at the 1:00 mark and corresponds to the Touchstone Pictures logo that immediately precedes the film on most home video editions.Listen to the mp3. Or, get it on-the-snap-Vincent (a.k.a., get it from iTunes).

  • The Skin I Live In (2011) Audio Commentary


    Almodovar and Banderas on the set of The Skin I Live InRC-2012-104: The Skin I Live In (2011)Your browser does not support this audioAfter a few plot twists and turns, Rob concludes that Almodovar's most recent film is ultimately about compassion. We all do bad things, but only some of us kidnap and castrate those who do bad things—and that's the theme of this wildly disturbing romp through the Spanish countryside. ...Or something like that. On the one hand, Rob muses, the film is a change of pace for the great director, but on the other hand so much of this is just so Pedro. In this commentary, the color red will be discussed and brightly lit by the hot, Spanish sunlight. If you are running the Region-1 DVD or Blu-Ray, you can get synchronized at around the 1:30 mark using the Sony Pictures Classics logo.Listen to the mp3. Or kidnap the track from iTunes.

  • The Social Network (2010) Audio Commentary


    Hey, remember the algorithm?RC-2012-105: The Social Network (2010)Your browser does not support this audioIn this episode, Rob gives part of his attention—the minimum amount—to what was one of the best and most surprising films of 2010, the Fincher-Sorkin-Reznor masterpiece known as The Social Network. The commentary gabbing analyzes stuff like the project's unusual development, Ben Mezrich's unusual book The Accidental Billionaires, and why Jesse Eisenberg seems to get the relationship between genius and being socially unusual. Listen and learn about how the screenplay takes the right kind of dramatic license and what The Social Network has in common with Casablanca. Synchronize your copy of the film to the commentary using the Columbia Pictures logo that precedes the opening credits.Listen to the mp3. Or get your Ivy League ass over to iTunes.

  • Shame (2011) Audio Commentary


    Steve McQueen is wearing a hat and scarf while his actors are in undershirtsRC-2012-106: Shame (2011)Your browser does not support this audioIn this episode, Rob determines that the breakout film for both McQueen and Fassbender is really just "The Lost Weekend, with fucking." While singing the praises of Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, the commentary considers whether or not sex addiction is really addiction (answer: I haven't a clue; ask a clinician) and how exceptionally the film captures the douche-y yuppies who populate the trendy bars in lower-Manhattan at quitting-time. If you learn anything from this commentary it should be that, while sex addiction can be a struggle, wearing a hoodie underneath a suit jacket—that's a real cry for help. Rob is proud of the fact that this is a movie about sex—glorious sex—and not once did he say the words "That what she said." Not once. The sync point is just after the Fox Searchlight Pictures title card.Listen to the mp3. Or go on a sex bender with the ghost of Ste

  • Goodfellas (1990) Audio Commentary - The Scorsese Series


    Look up "schnook" in the dictionary, and you find this photoRC-2012-107 (The Scorsese Series): Goodfellas (1990) Your browser does not support this audioAfter rifling through the suggestion box, I've decided to take the enthusiastic advice of my stalwart listener and e-mail correspondent, Glenn, and dedicate an entire series of commentaries to the work of Martin Scorsese. Since an earlier episode of the podcast already tackled a Scorsese film (1986's The Color of Money), we've given ourselves an inadvertent head start. With a filmography spanning several decades, Scorsese has made (in my opinion) four undeniable masterpieces and no fewer than a half-dozen arguable masterpieces. We'll definitely go off the beaten path in this series, as we've done already with The Color of Money, but this episode proceeds right to one of the more predictable entries from the "undeniable masterpiece" pile, 1990's gangster epic Goodfellas. The commentary explores the film's fidelity to the source material (the true-crime book W

  • High Fidelity (2000) Audio Commentary


    A conflict resolution specialistRC-2012-108: High Fidelity (2000) Your browser does not support this audioLook, conflict resolution is my job, so on this commentary track for High Fidelity, I'm once and for all resolving the question of whether this quasi-classic Cusack joint is, at bottom, a movie about loving cool music or a merely love movie with cool music in it. (I never answer this, but the former seems far more interesting, does it not?) Aside from marveling at how well the film gets away with Cusack's fourth-wall demolition job, I analyze how the essence of Hornby's novel was preserved despite the story being Americanized, and I get down and dirty thinking out loud about how refreshing it was back in 2000 to see a romantic comedy that did something unexpected with the tiresome sub-genre. You know, by being genuinely romantic and comedic. Does Catherine Zeta-Jones belong in this movie? And speaking of casting, did you know that within High Fidelity we have the best template ever for the use of this th

  • Raging Bull (1980) Audio Commentary - The Scorsese Series


    De Niro and Moriarty take a mulligan while playing putt-putt golf in Raging BullRC-2012-108 (The Scorsese Series): Raging Bull (1980)Your browser does not support this audioBefore I get to some less-beloved Marty joints (coming soon), the series on Scorsese continues to hopscotch through the undeniable masterpieces, landing on the much-admired Raging Bull. What is it about Scorsese's technique that so tickles P.T. Anderson's  fancy? And how is it that a book so bad can become so affecting when adapted to the screen? (My best guess: the involvement of one Paul Schrader, and a director whose sense for the operatic doesn't out-pace his penchant for street-level realism.) I sing the praises of some newcomer named Joe Pesci and opine on such things as the the Martin-Schrader-Scorsese-De Niro storytelling structure, the film's massaging of some real-world facts, and why it seems to be more highly regarded among directors than among critics (as reflected in the Sight & Sound polls). I manage to not get side

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