Episode 33: Chinatown

Episode 33:  ChinatownScott and Loren will never forget Chinatown.

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This Week’s Podcast:  Chinatown

  • 0:00-1:05:  Intro!
  • 1:06-9:25:  Loren and Scott discuss the puzzling and current state of the Disney cast of characters.
  • 9:26-17:44:  Loren thinks Les Miserables is seriously flawed, but still really liked it.
  • Scott’s Les Miserables podcast review.
  • 17:45-21:43:  Scott doesn’t want to call Skyfall the best Bond movie, but he can’t think of a better one.
  • 21:44-23:52:  Loren quite enjoyed Liberal Arts.
  • 23:54-29:30:  Scott’s entire family loved The Odd Life of Timothy Green, but he understands if it’s not something you connect with.
  • 29:32-41:31:  Scott and Loren discuss the formidable and fascinating Chinatown.
  • Roman Polanski
  • Roger Ebert’s Review of Chinatown
  • Roger Ebert’s Review of The Two Jakes
  • 41:32-45:17:  Loren and Scott recommend some other movies you might like in the vain of Chinatown.
  • 45:18-47:32:  Outro!


About Scott

Writer. Day Dreamer. Narnian.


  1. Claudiu Dobre says:

    Yup, that’s art for you! It’s all perspective… For me, the way Les Miserables is filmed works perfectly, because it helps create an atmosphere of claustrophobia that is perfectly in tune with the feeling of oppression they must have felt in those times and that, in fact, leads to the revolution (which makes sense for me because of the misery depicted early on and that, really, is there throughout the movie and, indeed, is a part of the title of the novel and movie itself). I love the narrow streets, I love that we rarely see the blue, clear sky, until the last scene, which is in the afterlife… I think it’s a very nice touch. I’m not even going to talk about the set decorations, which are insanely awesome.
    I love the way Hooper shoots (if not for Ang Lee, he’d have been my pick for Best Director this year) AND constructs his movie. I mean, yes, there is that inn scene that is a little too long for my liking, but pretty much everything else is essential – like you said, it’s a very fast-paced movie. But I don’t really see a problem with that… To me it doesn’t feel rushed at all, because the characters are still constructed well (all of the songs are quite important, I would say) and, to me, they feel pretty real and believable. Besides, there sort of are moments of contemplation, it’s just that somebody is usually singing their thoughts aloud while they’re happening. I’ve said it before, this didn’t completely work for me either at first, but it’s not the movie’s fault – I just had to get used to it. On second viewing it’s much more natural.
    The few problems I have with the movie (and I agree it IS a flawed movie) are different ones: the somewhat simplistic dialogue (I’m including the song lyrics), which almost feels dumbed-down at times – but the story (the source material IS super-strong, indeed) is so good that it still works, at least for me – and the live singing, which is great for the most part, but there are definitely times when it’s not done perfectly and, because it’s different, it sticks out.
    Of course, these are minor quibbles, because I do love this movie, immensely. All movies have flaws and I guess we probably can’t, all of us, perceive all of their flaws. Some don’t like this, some don’t like that… as is the case here with Loren and I. You can’t make a movie that everybody likes. You’re not even guaranteed to succeed at making a movie identical twins will both like, I would say. People are different in subtle ways, and so is their perspective on art.

  2. Claudiu Dobre says:

    Just to clarify – when I say the source material, I mean the novel, not the stage musical (which, obviously, since I’m not from the US, I haven’t seen), which I assume has similar dialogue. What I’m saying is that the themes from the original Victor Hugo story are so compelling that the movie works even with this kind of dialogue/lyrics that, to me, is a bit simplistic.