Toy Story 4 – Popcorn Not Included

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We invited our first guest ever on the show, our Toy Story-loving friend Garret, to talk with us about the latest entry in Pixar’s oldest and longest-running series.

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Toy Story 4

Directed by: Josh Cooley
Produced by: Jonas Rivera, Mark Nielsen
Written by: Stephany Folsom, Andrew Stanton
Edited by: Axel Geddes
Music by: Randy Newman
Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Madeleine McGraw, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves, Ally Maki, Jay Hernandez, Lori Alan, Joan Cusack
Production company: Pixar Animation Studios
Distributed by: Walt Disney Pictures

Favorite Movies: Saving Private Ryan – Popcorn Not Included

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We discuss one of the greatest war movies of all time – a favorite of us both.

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Saving Private Ryan

Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Produced by: Ian Bryce, Mark Gordon, Gary Levinsohn, Steven Spielberg
Written by: Robert Rodat
Cinematography: Janusz Kamiński
Edited by: Michael Kahn
Music by: John Williams
Starring: Tom Hanks, Edward Burns, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, Adam Goldberg, Barry Pepper, Vin Diesel, Giovanni Ribisi, Jeremy Davies
Production company: Amblin Entertainment, Mutual Film Company
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Favorite Movies: Forrest Gump – Popcorn Not Included

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We’re starting a sub-series where we cover our favorite movies. Technically we already began this with The LEGO Movie episode (one of Matt’s favorites). Now join us for a discussion of Maggie’s favorite film: the 1994 classic Forrest Gump – which Matt had never seen before!

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Forrest Gump

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Produced by: Wendy Finerman, Steve Tisch, Steve Starkey
Written by: Eric Roth
Based on: Forrest Gump by Winston Groom
Edited by: Arthur Schmidt
Music by: Alan Silvestri
Starring: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Mykelti Williamson, Sally Field
Production Company: Wendy Finerman Productions
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

The Workshop #46 – Pacific Tim 2: Tim Hanks

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Of course we had to talk about Christmas. I don’t think we did last year. Join us for a discussion of Christmas movies and specials and stick around until the end when we concept the greatest Christmas special (sadly) never made!

Captain Phillips

Once a journalist, Paul Greengrass changed careers and entered the film industry. He became a director and proceeded to make a career of doing movies about about tragic events. His films Resurrected, The Fix, Bloody Sunday, United 93, and now Captain Phillips are all “based on a true story.” Most audience members probably only know Greengrass as the director of The Bourne Supremacy and Ultimatum.

Greengrass brings his experience as a director of those action thrillers to bear on the story of Richard Phillips and the crew of the cargo ship Maersk Alabama who are beset by Somali pirates. It’s quite a marvel that I was brought to the edge of my seat watching the story unfold. After all, those of us who remember the news stories from a few years back have already had this “spoiled” for us.

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Greengrass’ signature handheld “shakycam” style seems befitting for a movie set largely on the high seas. The direction is really superb and the action engaging. It all feels very authentic.

But the best thing about the movie is Tom Hanks as the titular Captain. At first I was really bothered by the odd New England accent he was affecting. It’s true-to-life but I’ve heard Hanks’ real voice so many times in other roles that it sounded put on. By the time the pirates were spotted on the horizon I had adjusted to it. When the emotional close of the film rolled around, I was completely sold on Hanks in the role.

As a movie, I really like Captain Phillips. It’s effective, well-paced, and Tom Hanks turns in one great performance as the lead. It portrays the whole event as being pretty unfortunate for all involved. It’s not waving a lot of American flags nor portraying the U.S. as some kind of bully.

The story is a sad one. Out of desperation and greed a couple young Somalis got themselves into the crosshairs of U.S. Navy SEALs where they stood no chance of survival. Although frightened for his life, Captain Phillips is also aware that the Somalis are doomed once the Navy shows up and practically begs them to let him go so they won’t get themselves killed.

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I really appreciated how the event was handled. Except for one thing…

Hey, remember how I mentioned that Paul Greengrass did the second and third Bourne movies? The great thing about them is they were entirely fictional. Unfortunately, to properly consider and discuss this movie, we have to look at how it compares to reality.

Apparently not very favorably.

According to the movie, Captain Phillips was a paragon of virtue. He’s overly cautious about the threat of piracy. He’s shown as a brave and sacrificial leader. In a word: a hero. On the other hand, you get the impression that his crew has a little trouble lining up under their Captain. They’re actually portrayed as a bit lazy in one scene.

The real-life crew tells a different story. The real Captain Phillips was allegedly reckless, arrogant, and a liar when recounting the events of the hijacking. There’s some pretty harsh criticism leveled at the man. If it’s true, that’s really disappointing.

Tom Hanks stars in Columbia Pictures' "Captain Phillips."

For me, that controversy does mar the film because it’s so concentrated on one man who may have been portrayed very, very inaccurately. Captain Phillips is a good movie for its filmmaking and acting, but when it comes to veracity I really have to question it. Then again, what do you expect from these “based on a true story” movies?