The Macguffin Report
Season 2, Episode 8: Doctor Who and science-fiction movies

Season 2, Episode 8: Doctor Who and science-fiction movies

October 17, 2019

The MacGuffin Report gets spacey (and timey-wimey!) in this episode devoted to science-fiction tv and film. MacGuffin co-hosts Raechel Wong and Walter Hong are shocked about as much as Sigourney Weaver and the gang when that bugaboo tore out of William Hurt’s chest to discover that there’s a television show that Os Davis admits to liking: Doctor Who.

At relative levels of knowledge of and devotion to British’s biggest entertainment franchise, the MacGuffins dissect various aspects of Doctor Who in an attempt to figure out what makes this show tick and how it has fascinated so many for so long.

At 35:45, the trio attempts to define science-fiction and wonder if the entire genre isn’t heading down an already tired, cliched path.

And at 44:00. The MacGuffins talk all-time favorite sci-fi films and tv series. As always, the namedrops and rabbitholes are fast and furious; this week, references and/or critiques are made of several Star Trek series (of course), Babylon 5, Firefly/Serenity, the Orville, Black Mirror, Planet of the Apes, the Andromeda Strain, Jurassic Park, Sphere, Timeline, the various Alien movies, Interstellar, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Event Horizon, Back to the Future, Galaxy Quest, Annihilation, Contact and a must-see nearly-forgotten dystopian classic per Os, Brazil.

So for now, warp factor 6.2 – Engage!

Season 2, episode 7: Knock Down the House, Free Solo and documentary film

Season 2, episode 7: Knock Down the House, Free Solo and documentary film

October 4, 2019

The Macguffin Report gets real in this episode, with the focus squarely on documentaries. At front and center are Knock Down the House (currently available on Netflix) and, beginning at about 18:55, Free Solo (Amazon).

And at 41:10, it's a free-for-all as co-hosts Rachel Womg, Walter Hong and Os Davis name-drop all their favorite documentaries including the recent pair of Fyre Festival documentaries, Warren Miller's works such as Layered and Endless Summer, Michael Moore's movies, Blood in the Face, Dark Horse, Grizzly Man, Hoop Dreams, Icarus, Life Itself, Lost in La Mancha, Manufacturing Consent, My Best Fiend, Super Size Me, 13th and Wild Wild Country.

Bonus: Walter pithily explains the Republican Party.

Season 2, episode 6: Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood and *that* scene

Season 2, episode 6: Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood and *that* scene

September 25, 2019

As Cliff Booth says, “And away we go.”

MacGuffin Report co-hosts Raechel Wong, Walter Hong and Os Davis take on Quentin Tarantino, with specific attention on his latest, 9th and ostensibly penultimate film Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood.

The MacGuffins deep-dive into Once Upon a Time spans the talking points, including the generally fantastic acting, the historical retelling, the historical revisionism and, o yes, that Bruce Lee scene. Seriously, the three ask, what’s QT’s problem with Bruce? Is this portrayal racist, disrespectful, the result ham-handed direction or some, all, or none of the above?

And before the MacGuffin Report closes, the trio attempts to determine Tarantino’s standing against all-timers and contemporary great American directors.

Season 2, episode 5: Toy Story 4, The Umbrella Academy and streaming recommendations

Season 2, episode 5: Toy Story 4, The Umbrella Academy and streaming recommendations

August 28, 2019

The MacGuffin Report co-hosts Raechel Wong, Walter Hong and Os Davis break out a great big grab bag of hot takes and opinionating on a few choice pop culture items.

At just about 1:00, the MacGuffins review Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy – finally a topic of unanimous agreement! While trashing a series is status quo for os, Walter may have found something he enjoyed less than Roma and Raechel has apparently found a series to confound her outstanding ability to find any socially redeeming value.

So as to cleanse the metaphorical palate, the Macguffins go on to give recommendations for some actually watchable stuff on streaming services including Netflox, Amazon, CBS All-Access, Britbox and the like. Positivity about series including Sons of Anarchy, Justified, Everybody Loves Raymond, NBC’s The Office, and BBC’s Sherlock beginning at 11:48.

The ’Report closes out beginning at 18:40 with some very deep diving into Toy Story 4, the Toy Story franchise in general and Pixar productions in the post-John Lasseter era.

And, yes, the inclusion of Toy Story 4 means more Keanu to torment Os…

Season 2, episode 4: Talking Fleabag (Amazon) and Britcoms; Deadwood (HBO) and Westerns

Season 2, episode 4: Talking Fleabag (Amazon) and Britcoms; Deadwood (HBO) and Westerns

August 14, 2019

Season 2, episode 4: Talking Fleabag and The Importance of Being Cringy; Deadwood and the Death (?) of the Western

In this episode, The MacGuffin Report deep dives into two disparate subject matters in American movies, tv and pop culture, namely the relative appeals of the British comedy and the old-timey Western.

Co-hosts Raechel Wong, Walter Hone and Os Davis review Fleabug, touching on its handling of mental health issues, emphasis on breaking the fourth wall, and most of all that classic cringiness of British humor. Giving thrown into the reference mix thereafter are classic Britcoms like The Office, Fawlty Towers and Blackadder.

The MacGuffins also talk the generally very blah Amazon/Netflix aesthetic in stuff like Absentia, The Tick, the Umbrella Academy but not The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

And then for something completely different.

At 21:50, the MacGuffins examine the simple question "Is the Western dead?" Spoilers: Opinions differ.

The focus here is on HBO's Deadwood, covering everything from the badassery of Ian McShane to the method of quick-draw scripting and shooting, plus Raechel dropping some excellent trivia.

In answering the bigger question, cases are stated for/against Unforgiven (1992), Tombstone (1993), Cowboys & Aliens (2011), Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018), Heaven's Gate (1980), Lone Ranger (2013), Wild Wild West (1999), Jonah Hex (2010), No Country for Old Men (2007), Brokeback Mountain (2005) plus tv series including Godless, Justified, Kung Fu, Gunsmoke and Bonanza.

And then Os brings the rant on the bombastic HBO aesthetic in series such as Rome, Sex and the City, Oz and Game of Thrones (yes, he goes there).

Bonus! At about 49:00, Walter provides tips on how to survive in an armed society, specifically in a knife fight. Now what other Tv/movie podcast brings you that...?

Season 2, episode 3: Always Be My Maybe, Kim’s Convenience, Asian-American cinema/TV

Season 2, episode 3: Always Be My Maybe, Kim’s Convenience, Asian-American cinema/TV

August 7, 2019

Season 2, episode 3: Deep dives into Always Be My Maybe, Kim’s Convenience, Asian-American cinema/TV

The MacGuffin Report gives the ol’ Netflix subscription a real workout this week as we review the streaming service’s original production Always Be My Maybe (2019) and the Canadian TV series Kim’s Convenience based on Ins Choi’s 2011 theatrical production of the same name.

Whereas MacGuffin Report co-hosts Walter Hong, Raechel Wong and Os Davis typically take pride in their deep dives, they may have outdone themselves this time. Get ready for some serious (and not so serious) analysis of this movie and series.

The trio starts the show with Always Be Maybe, with discussions of everything from importance of soundtrack to the clichés – sometimes necessary, sometimes unnecessary – of the romantic comedy genre to the importance of frank talk about sex in Asian-American movies.

At 24:30, Kim’s Convenience gets a look; the MacGuffins talk economy of script, the importance of setting and the appeal of setting any tv series in a specific sociological environment. Plus, Os gushes about several highlights of episode 1.

At 35:20, it all leads to the question, “Has Asian-American film/tv truly arrived in the U.S.?” This in turn leads to Walter and Raechel educating Os (and, ideally, us all) on Asian-American cinema, its audience and the relation of each to entertainment imported from Japan, Korea and China.

Of course, it wouldn’t be the MacGuffin Report without namedrops and callbacks. This episode features references to movies including When Harry Met Sally (1989), Murder Mystery (2019), Crazy Rich Asians (2018), It Happened One Night (1934), Mary Poppins (1964), Gladiator (2000), Black Panther (2018), Do the Right Thing (1989), Malcolm X (1992) and Spirited Away (2001). And while mulling over tv, there’s references and mentions to Barney Miller, M*A*S*H, Cheers, Night Court, Corner Gas, Northern Exposure, Miami Vice, Avatar: The Last Airbender and Teen Titans Go, among others.

All this plus an appearance by Keanu Reeves tormenting Os, and Raechel displaying uncanny MacGuffinspotting powers...

Season 2, episode 2: John Wick vs Keanuphobia vs action movies

Season 2, episode 2: John Wick vs Keanuphobia vs action movies

July 30, 2019

Season 2, episode 2: John Wick vs Keanuphobia vs action movies

It’s lights, camera, action movies for the MacGuffin Report in this episode, as co-hosts Raechel Wong, Walter Hong and Os Davis take a deep dive into John Wick 3: Parabellum (2019).

As a proper Wickan, Raechel drops a whole lotta information on the film’s preproduction as well as Halle Berry’s dog training and martial arts prep for the film. But is Raechel’s enthusiasm, even combined with Walter’s, enough to overcome Os’s Keanuphobia and convince him to give John Wick (2014)?

As always, the MacGuffins bring wider takes on American TV, movies and pop Culture, and so in discussing the action movie genre name-drop and/or contextualize films like Commando (1985), The Last Action Hero (1993), True Lies (1994), Armour of God 2: Operation Condor (1991), Police Story 3: Supercop (1992), Rumble in the Bronx (1995), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Rush Hour (1998), Top Gun (1986), Django Unchained (2012) and the Count of Monte Christo (2002).

Then, as though to bait Os, the MacGuffins attempt to answer the question “Can a movie with Keanu Reeves be good?” by debating the relative merits of River's Edge (1986), The Matrix (1999), The Replacements (2000), Something’s Gotta Give (2003), Always Be My Maybe (2019), and of course Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989) and Bogus Journey (1991) – but they ultimately figure his best work will be in Tortured Soul, scheduled for release in 2034 or ’35… (OD)

Season 2, Episode 1: The Beginning of Rom-Coms

Season 2, Episode 1: The Beginning of Rom-Coms

July 18, 2019

Season 2, Episode 1: Early rom-coms, modern rom-coms and what to do with bad recommendations

Shazam! The MacGuffin Report is back for another season of takes on American TV, movies and pop culture.

This time, co-hosts Walter Hong, Raechel Wong and Os Davis reach back into Hollywoods’s past, to days before the expression “pop culture” was in common parlance; the MacGuffins take a look at 1934’s “It Happened One Night”, the Hollywood standard starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert which was released just seven years after the first full-length talkie.

A viewing (and reviewing) of the film leads to a deep-dive into the nature and essence of Hollywood rom-coms in general, happily name-dropping lots of more modern favorites such as “When Harry Met Sally” and “Love Actually.”

Also, answers to a question evermore relevant for us all: How much respect do you lose for someone who recommends bad TV/movies? 

Episode 10 - Horror Film Trauma, Irresponsible Movies, Us Review

Episode 10 - Horror Film Trauma, Irresponsible Movies, Us Review

June 18, 2019

The MacGuffin Report digs deep this week into dark recesses of fear and psychological trauma. In episode 10, Walter Hong, Raechel Wong and Os Davis discuss movies, TV and American culture with regard to the rather peculiar phenomenon of horror films.

The MacGuffins are thrown a few hardballs in this episode in examining the power of horror movies to cause trauma and the balance between irresponsible filmmaking and responsible viewing. Walter in particular demonstrates some fine amateur psychology chops as the three namedrop some of their favorite/least favorite horror movies, including Child’s Play (1988), Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), The Exorcist (1973), Spellbinder (1988) and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978).

The ’Report closes with a review of Us (2018), Jordan Peele’s follow-up to his excellent Get Out (2017) and touch on Peele’s own leporiphobia. And that’s the end.

Or is it…? (OD)

Episode 9 - Batman 80th Anniversary Show

Episode 9 - Batman 80th Anniversary Show

May 29, 2019

 

Episode 9 – Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, Batman!

The MacGuffin Report wishes Batman a happy 80th birthday with a 100% Bat-filled episode 9. As always, Raechel Wong, Os Davis and Walter Hong discuss movies, TV and American culture, but this time it’s all through the lens of that iconic pulp character.

The MacGuffins take a look at Batman in comics, television and film. The three kick around the relative merits of the Bat’s nine movies, with special emphasis on Adam West’s 1966 version, Tim Burton’s Michael Keaton-starring 1989 release and The Dark Knight of 2008. They’ll throw a few Batman-centric factoids out there, and Os may even grouse about the Batfleck era.

Enjoy episode 9, and tune in for the next at the same Mac-time, same Mac-channel…

-Os Davis