On the 25th anniversary of its release, the two guys who brought you phrases like "brain boners," "milady, you've got the chompers of a basset hound," and "Amy want night tickle" are here to talk 1998's critically acclaimed World War II film, Saving Private Ryan. And who better? Your gnarly boys not only breakdown the technical aspects of Steven Spielberg's direction, but somehow break into a Kantian dialogue pitting Jeremy Benthem's philosophy of Utilitarianism against classical Deontology. I'm serious.
Filmshake is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get, and we don't even care if that's the wrong Tom Hanks movie. You also get, very briefly, discussion about our punishment film, 2005's The Great Raid, and of course, as always, an episode-ending trivia battle to the death.
Filmshake: We're FUBAR...but in a good way!
Music Heard This Episode:
"Hymn to the Fallen" -- John Williams
"Omaha Beach" -- John Williams
"High School Teacher" -- John Williams
"Revisiting Normandy" -- John Williams
Music - Well clear your murder holes and get out your bangle lores. I'm Jordan. And this is Nick. And this is Film Shake, the 90s movies podcast. Episode 65. We're talking about saving Private Ryan, formerly known as saving Ryan's privates. I'm just gonna just feel like I'm gonna have to throw that in there every now and then, Nick. I'm so glad that I sent you that. Yeah, you sent that you sent that mad mad TV video to me and I just can't stop thinking about it. So the legendary mad TV video. It's right there in the movie too with murder holes and bangle lores. I mean, they're just giving it just giving it to you.
Right. Someone told me about that at school one day in 11th grade. I don't know, sometime in the fall of 1998. Someone on a Monday caught that mad TV and said, Nick, Nick, you gotta you gotta hear about this. They did a saving Private Ryan's kit on mad TV, but it was called saving Ryan's privates and it was like this porn parody and they started to tell me everything. And I was like, I don't know that. That sounds fake. I don't think they really did that. And he's like, no, no, they did do it. And there was no way to verify it. Right. I couldn't just hop online and Google it.
There was no YouTube. Yeah. I randomly thought about it in like 2006 or something. I thought saving Ryan's. You had never seen it. You had never seen it until 2006.
Yeah. So I YouTubeed it and behold, it was real. And then I felt bad. I was like, how could I have doubted him? He told the truth. How could I have doubted him?
Right. Just such an upstanding guy telling me about Ryan's privates on mad TV. I shouldn't believe that dude.
He was legit. And this is a parody where Private Ryan's junk has to get protected from destruction. That's right.
From destruction. Nice. Now, be honest, you enjoyed that parody much more than the real movie, right? Incorrect. Okay. Okay. All right.
I don't think many people would come down on that side of things. But yeah. So last time I lost at trivia, you punished me with this movie, The Great Raid, that you were interested in watching. And lo and behold, my life is such a shit storm. I could not watch The Great Raid and you did for me.
So thank you. And what did you think of this possibly terrible movie? The Great Raid.
I can make quick work of this so we can get to our main feature. This is a war film from 2005. Whenever Saving Private Ryan was released, it was a big hit and that was regarded as such a great film. A lot of people threw their hats into the war film ring. Like war movies are back.
They've been out since the 60s, but that's it. Now we can make a ton of war movies and make a ton of money off of them. Cha-ching. Well, cha-ching.
I'll tell you what, 2005, seven years too late here for The Great Raid. It did not do well at the box office on an $80 million budget. It only made $10.8 million, Jordan. Ooh, that's rough. I felt bad at the time. I remember looking at the posters of all these guys standing together raising their guns. And I thought, man, like this is telling this true story of this raid for World War II. And lo and behold, this movie flopped. That makes me feel bad because it's based on a real thing that happened. You know, this real raid on POW camp by American soldiers in the Japanese-occupied Philippines. It's like the biggest rescue in military history. So I'm sure this film is really good and it should have got more attention. And I guess I'll watch it at some point. Well, we're at some point, Jordan.
It's 18 years later. I punished you with this movie knowing full well you wouldn't watch it and only I would watch it. You knew full well.
I would not watch this. Like I answered all those questions right for nothing, but it's okay. Of course. I always wanted to watch this, but now you know what, Jordan? I'll tell you what. This movie was hard to get through and it's not because of the subject matter. It's not because it's a brutal war film about the total disaster and moral travesty of war. It's not something that's just beating you down the whole time and that's why it's boring. It's boring because it's boring.
It's a boring film, Jordan. It's 132 minutes long. That's a lot shorter than Saving Private Ryan. It's more than half an hour shorter than Saving Private Ryan, but I'm struggling to describe it. It is a tough watch to get through. It's very slow paced. The titular raid is the last 35 to 40 minutes of the film.
It's okay. That's at least a fairly exciting part in the film. It's at night. It's not really shot in a way that's very thrilling, but it's not bad. It's an okay sequence. There are some explosions.
The soldiers get freed. It's directed by John Dahl, which I think I remember you saying that you were excited about. Right, yeah, because he directed Red Rock West. That's a really hard title to say real fast. And some other notable stuff, but that's the main one with our boy Nick Cage. Yeah, I was excited, but yeah, ultimately couldn't get to it.
And sounds like you said I dodged a great raid size bullet. And I could tell you my soul is just waning at the prospect of watching this all together, probably just from that kind of crappy early 2000s poster that they have for this. I'm just like, I'm not interested in this kind of B movie war film that just came too late to the game. I don't know. It just doesn't sound like anything I don't want to get into.
It just doesn't work. One of the main storylines is about this woman trying to get medicine into the POW camp. And you wouldn't think that would be like the main focus of the film.
You think it would be the raid, but it feels like for the first two hours or so, all you're doing is hanging out with this lady trying to get medicine to the POW camp. And then the movie we're about to talk about saving Private Ryan, you know, they desaturated all the colors for a very distinct artistic look. This film, they just take all the colors out and it's just drab and boring. It doesn't evoke anything. It's just drab.
The visual palette is just like a gray bleh. You got James Franco as the lead. The movie starts with him giving a voice over Jordan over historical footage. You know, saving Private Ryan just throws you into it and you're going to have to figure it out.
This movie doesn't do that. You got James Raid. James Raid. James Raid.
Maybe I'll just call it that. So James Raid is narrating the first 10 minutes of the movie, which is just war footage. And Janie Narra is the end of the movie.
So that starts off the monotony. I mean, if you think James Franco would work as a military captain who carries a lot of authority and plans a great raid, I don't know why you'd think that because that doesn't work. That doesn't really work at all. It's just not, it's not a good movie, man. It's a bummer because this really was a very significant historical event. I know that obviously some veterans that were involved in it were happy that at least a movie was made of it. And they do show respect to the event.
It's not like they just crap all over it. You can tell they tried their best, but the talent and the artistic vision wasn't really here. Really the only thing that I took much enjoyment from is in the raid scene, Cain Crawford, who he's in the show called Rectify that I really enjoy, where he kind of plays this country guy with this country accent. And here he just has a little bit of an accent, but he has a really big bazooka and he blows a lot of stuff up at the end of the movie. So I enjoyed that, but man, the rest of it is just really generic, really boring, really drab. It's a three out of 10 film for me. I'm glad I watched it so that now I don't have to think about it anymore and feel bad for the movie. It definitely only deserved about that 11 million.
I think the veterans who were involved in the rescue deserve better, but this movie is not great. It's definitely a punishment. It's not one of those, well, this movie wasn't even really a punishment.
It was a punishment, man. I watched it. I was starting to distract myself maybe 20 minutes in.
I had to do other things while I was watching it to get through it. It was rough. That's rough.
That's rough. You talking about how long and slow it is, it made me think of The Thin Red Line? Have you seen that? Are you a fan of that movie? So I saw The Thin Red Line in theaters.
It's the only time I saw it, and I was expecting Saving Private Ryan, and it's not that. And there is a moment in that movie where they have all these ponderous questions and voiceover, right? And someone says, what is love?
And when the guy said, what is love, I just thought, damn it, what the hell is this? Right, right. Now, it might be good. I definitely want to watch it again. I might pick it next year for the 25th anniversary, but it wasn't what I was expecting. I like some Terrence Malick films, but it didn't do it for me back then.
How about you? I'm a big fan of his early work. I haven't seen a whole lot of his other movies beyond The Thin Red Line. I love Badlands.
I love Days of Heaven. And then it took a long break, and then Red Line came out. And I remember you renting it, expecting Saving Private Ryan, and I actually watched it for, I want to say it must have been my birthday party or something. Thinking, this is going to be this awesome action movie, all these young middle school kids getting together, like, yeah, Saving Private Ryan too.
It's going to be badass. And then it's just slow and ponderous and philosophical, and everyone's just kind of losing interest. I'm just like, oh man, I think I might actually like this if I was in a different context. But yeah, I've never gone back to rewatch it. So yeah, it's definitely one that I think I might like now that I'm a little older in a different situation. But yeah, need to give it a shot. Right, I'm looking forward to covering it again someday.
As we were saying earlier before we were recording, if you combine Saving Private Ryan's cast with the Thin Red Line's cast, it's every single actor who was working at the time. It's insane. Yeah, it's ridiculous. Are we ready to put a pin in the Great Raid? Do you have any more questions about that not-rivening film that I made myself watch? Nope, I'm good to move on to Saving Ryan's Privates. No, Jordan, not Saving Ryan's Privates. It's 1998's Saving Private Ryan. Saving Private Ryan's Privates Saving Private Ryan's Privates Saving Private Ryan's Privates
Speaker 2: Saving Private Ryan's Privates Saving Private Ryan's Privates Saving Private Ryan's Privates Saving Private Ryan's Privates Saving Private Ryan's Privates
Speaker 1: Saving Private Ryan's Privates Man, I still can't believe that Mad TV skit is real. That show was wild, man. It really... You had to flip back and forth between it and SNL, because you couldn't Tivo things then, let alone stream them.
So, you pretty much had to choose between one or the other, unless you had two TV side by side. But they had some good skits. They had some good skits. I feel like most, if we do have a Gen Z audience, they're like, what are you all talking about? I feel like most Gen Z people that I've talked to, they don't even know what Saturday Night Live is. So, I'm just like, it's irrelevant. I don't know.
This is for all the mold fogus out there. The great generation folks listening to our Saving Private Ryan podcast. Right. We might have not fought in World War II, but we did survive the Saturday Night Skit Show Wars between SNL and Mad TV. Mad TV was a rival on the Fox Network. It was a more reverent spin on what SNL did. It was very funny. It was also a hidden miss like SNL, but it also produced some big stars like SNL did. I liked it. I mean, it was a thing.
It was a thing in the late 90s, the early 2000s, and then it wasn't a thing anymore. So, if you missed it, you can just go on YouTube and watch all of it, because it's all there for free. Just like you can watch the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan.
Obviously, I feel like a lot of people naturally, when they think of the movie in the beginning of this movie, they just want to go straight to Omaha Beach, right? But we got to talk about the bookends, Nick. Got to talk about the bookends. Cemetery with Old Ryan. And do you think we're meant to know, first off, that this old man is Private Ryan, or is there some trick-a-roo on Spielberg's part to make me think that this might be like Old Tom Hanks? Because I feel like there's a shot where it zooms in really close on Tom Hanks' face later that mimics the same zoom in on the old man in the cemetery that makes me think that at first. I don't know. What's your experience with the beginning of this movie?
Gotcha. So I went to see this movie in the theater, saw it there twice, with my cousin Adrian. And in the theater watching it the first time, I thought, yeah, this guy has got to be Captain Miller.
This has to be Tom Hanks. And then, spoiler alert, we spoil all the movies that we talk about here, because they're all 20-plus years old, but Miller does not make it through the film. He dies with about 15 minutes to go.
Well, I'm more like about 6 or 7 minutes to go. Yeah, I thought it was going to be him. And when he died, I thought, wait a minute, I thought that was him at the beginning. And then you realize, no, that's who Ryan has come to visit, and that's who he's thinking about.
Because he's come to Miller's grave to speak to him and ask him if he's lived a life, if he's earned his rescue. And man, so let me ask you this first of all, what was your first experience watching this film? Because I have a lot to say about the bookends in relation to the first time I watched it and now. Yeah, I have a lot to say about the bookends in general, but I think the first time I watched this, I remember the VHS set. It was like two different VHS tapes, just like Titanic, because it's so freaking long.
I sent you the meme, or not the meme, the gif for the gif, however you want to say that, of the shot of Matt Damon turning into the old Matt Damon. Because like this movie is so damn long. This is me watching this movie. It's just turning into an old man.
But no, it really does fly by for how long this movie is. It's obviously gripping and pulls you in. And I mean, I don't know if I've seen another war movie that literally I feel pulled in and I'm just watching reality in a way.
Or it's just like this. I just totally lose track of I am watching a movie right now, especially that opening Omaha Beach scene. I mean, I think it goes without saying everybody just fully praises that and thinks it's one of the best battle scenes in a movie. But yeah, these bookends I have more issues with and I feel like that's kind of the main complaint of this movie. If you have any complaints about it, obviously it's just like a super well made movie. It's Spielberg at some of the heights of his powers, but it's the kind of model in cinematality of the bookend at the beginning and the end that just kind of doesn't kill it for me. But it definitely brings it down a notch.
What about you? I felt that way when I was 16 years old when I saw this at the theater and I tell you what, back then for a kid from Poinkpea Parish, I knew a lot about movies and I had seen a lot of movies. But if I read reviews that said a lot of the same thing, I would just think, you know what, I'm just a baller from Poinkpea Parish.
These critics must be right. So I did think like, OK, they're saying this scene is modeling or they're saying that the rest of the film is a come down from the opening scene. So I guess it is. So I really like this movie a lot.
But I guess it's just like a nine out of 10 movie. But now that I'm old, now that I'm old like this old man in the cemetery, do you relate? You're like, I'm pushing. You're not pushing 70. But yeah, anyway, you're not that old.
Something I'll talk about more as this goes on. This movie hits you differently on different age levels. When I watched this back when I was 16, I was close to the age of the the privates in the film who were storming the beach and the private Ryan later on. These are 18, 19, 20 year olds and I'm identifying with them in that position. But here's the deal.
I'm watching it now. Tom Hanks celebrated his 41st birthday while filming this. They celebrated it on set. I'm 41 now. And who do I identify with when I watch this movie now? It's not the privates. It's Tom Hanks. It's Captain Miller.
That's who I identify with now. And I feel like this opening and closing scene, I almost need that now. Whereas I didn't need or want that before.
I kind of need it to decode the rest of the movie on a philosophical level in a way, which I'll get to later. But they don't bother me. I get that people don't like them. I get that even people don't even like the flag of the beginning, which whatever. I mean, it's movies about American forces fighting in World War II, but they don't bother me at all.
I watched the filming of them. I got the 4K disc for this and oh my gosh, it looks amazing. This movie looks so good. The sound design has always been brilliant. Even my VHS and like my old speakers in my room in high school, it sounded great. But now I'm like my soundbar playing from the 4K disc.
God man, it just looks and sounds incredible. I just distracted myself. I don't know where I was going.
Oh, the the extras, the 4K extras. Watching the way when they film these scenes, they made a cross for Captain Miller and they put it in a blank spot. And then they realized that there was a Captain Miller right next to where they put their Captain Miller. So it was like fate.
I don't know. Watching them film that stuff and being older now. Those scenes don't bother me at all. Like not even a little bit. I don't care.
Not even a little bit, huh? Yeah, the beginning scene doesn't bother me so much. I feel like it's necessary to have those bookends there and I like the imagery of the cemetery and how we're just brought in. Like through his memory into the scenes, you know, on the beach and in the battle. But I don't know. I guess we can get into it as we get toward the end of the movie. Just that some of the sentimentality I feel like is even more heavy handed toward the end just kind of doesn't sit well with me.
But I agree. It's necessary in a way to decode this movie. And I'm interested to hear what you have to say philosophically or thematically about what's going on here.
Because I'm not quite sure I fully wrap my mind around that either. But yeah, all that to say, we've got these bookends and then of course we get into the famous D-Day Omaha Beach scene. Yeah, you've got the John Williams score here that suddenly goes dark, John Williams. That dark, like a tremulous sound that he's used whenever he wants to instill a little terror and a little fear at what's coming. Did you catch that in the musical score there as we suddenly are on the beaches of Normandy? I was just like wondering what a murder hole was.
Clear your murder holes. Now, obviously I love the fact too that we're right there in the boats with the men and we don't really see like where they're going or what they're coming. We don't see the beach. We don't see the Germans.
We hardly ever see the Germans. And I just love that we're right there on the faces of the men, like super close, in those cramped quarters. The whole style of the movie and the way that Spielberg shot it, which is mostly handheld, I don't know if it's all handheld or not. I don't know if he ever used a tripod or whatever. Yeah, I love the whole shaky tracking. Like, camera just keeps going throughout all the action. It reminded me of what would come later with children of men where you'd have those kind of epic long tracking shots through battle fields and rubble and decrepit buildings and everything. So I was like, oh yeah, I can see where Karan picked up a lot from this and I never noticed that until this rewatch. I dig this whole opening scene.
Probably a lot of it has to go, has a lot of my love for it has to do with that style and the way that apparently Spielberg didn't storyboard it. He didn't like plan out his shots. He wanted to kind of figure it out on the fly to make it more authentic.
And I think that serves him well. I could see how a more inexperienced director might just fail in that regard when especially you have like thousands and thousands of extras and squibs going off and explosives and all sorts of stuff to manage. And then you're also over here just like free-balling the camera. So I think that's just like an amazing feat that this comes across as realistic as it does. And it's just like one of the most realistic war scenes I've ever seen for sure. And it doesn't pull any punches. It's just like super gruesome. And I know a lot of veterans appreciate it for that. At the same time, it sounds like a lot of veterans were traumatized by even like watching this movie that like the VA had to open up an 800 number just to like have people call in and talk through their trauma about re-experiencing all this through this movie.
Just kind of crazy. Well, both my grandfathers passed away before I hit my teenage years. And my uncle's father, who I believe you knew as well, just called him Paw Paw Bee. He fought in World War II and no one really knew anything about it, including his family. And I remember after this movie came out, I had heard that he was in D-Day and I ran up to him excitedly and said, Paw Paw Bee, Paw Paw Bee, you gotta watch this movie, Saving Private Ryan.
It's so good. It's about what you did. It's about D-Day.
And I've said that really excitedly, right? All of a sudden, his eyes just looked off in the distance and he got this thousand yard stare and then he looked back at me and he said, Nick, why'd you have to remind me about that? Do you know how terrible that was? And then his eyes teared up and he just walked away. But, but he watched the movie and then he told everybody everything about what happened to him.
Wow. He landed right after D-Day. His company had 120 men. Overnight, they got attacked by the Germans on June 7th and 100 out of 120 men got killed that night. He was one of 20 people who lived.
He made it through the war till the Battle of the Bulge and then he got severely wounded by shrapnel and he got a purple heart and he got sent home. But that was my one experience with that where I was like, I had no idea that was that bad. And that affected me more when I watched the movie the second time.
But I mean, it's such a shock to the system. You know, when the music cuts out and you just get the sound effects of the boat motors running and the water crashing. And then you see the guys being nervous and Tom Hanks handshaking and guys puking and then those gates come down and then everyone just gets killed. I mean, your first experience is just bullets hitting everybody and everyone on the front of the boats dying. And everyone else having to flip over the side and then it's just total carnage.
And then Spielberg dips the camera under the water and at first it's like, okay, I'm safe here. There's no more bullet noises and explosions. Right. Then you have the bullets whizzing through the water.
Right. With the sound designer guy said they intended that to be like at first like you think you're in this cocoon, like this cocoon of safety. But then when it goes down the second time, all of a sudden the bullets are there too.
So there's no escape. Dude, you said that about Spielberg. Watching the extras, I already had a lot of respect for him. I think he's probably the greatest filmmaker to ever live.
If you really look at his full body of work and how long he was like on top of his game. Yeah. Constantly making great films.
Right. It wasn't just like a decade or two decades. I mean, he was on top of his game for like 30 years. But no one could have done what he did here. I mean, if you watch him on set, he's directing like a madman. He's got like a hundred people. He's telling a hundred different things to he's remembering everything everyone is telling him and rerouting the things people are telling him.
It's insane, man. If you have any doubt that Spielberg is a master, even if you have a doubt that he's a master technician, this movie is insane. There's no other movie as far as war movies go or scenes with this kind of action on this scale.
That is this technically excellent. It's really on just on another level. I can't think of any film in recent memory coming close to you.
How many movies have a scene that's 20 minutes long of a 20 minute battle scene that took like a month to shoot with like over 1000 extras and that just like that much coordination that goes into this. It's just it's mind boggling. But what's amazing to me is like, I think about that as like a person interested in film and the making of film, but at the same time watching it, like I said, I am not at the same time.
I'm not thinking about that because I'm so immersed in this world that they've created and just like the span of seconds and just how how in depth it is. Like there's so many layers and so much going on. And yet like you can also follow the action like it's clear like what he wants you to focus on. It's clear like the characters that I'm learning about in them in this particular like very chaotic moment. It's just a master work. Yeah, it's nuts. And the fact that he sent the actors to boot camp for a week, the fact that he got 2500 real soldiers and the Irish army to fill out the rest of the men on the beach for authenticity.
It's crazy. The fact that he throws you in there and you really get to know who are going to end up being your core characters on the fly and you don't everyone is dying in this opening scene. You know Tom Hanks isn't going to die, but you don't know who else is not going to die because you don't really know anyone else here.
Well, yeah, like watching this in 2023 is a different experience. I'm sure then 98 where a lot of these actors we now know pretty notable guys like Giovanni Rubisi, Barry Pepper, Vin Diesel, like all these guys. But you know, then like the choice was to cast a lot of people that are just like unknown, you know, that he was looking at like certain faces really that would match some of the newsreels that he was used to watching from the time. And so yeah, you just have like this murderous row of like cameos and you've got Tom Sizemore and you've got all these people in there.
But yeah, it's just totally different watching it now or it's just like, oh yeah, I know all these people, but I guess for the time and the release date, it was a much different experience. You might have seen Tom Sizemore in, you know, a Tarantino movie or somewhere else, but not really in this context where he's second in command, he's Sergeant Horvath. But like you said, Barry Pepper, who is hugely memorable here as a religious sniper who I just thought was the most badass person I ever saw in my life.
The first time I watched this movie. And he's Southern too, so it's like, okay. Exactly. Yeah, and he's like quoting scripture and sniping dudes from a mile away.
And then you have Giovanna Rubisi who I'd seen as some stuff up to that point. But again, not in this context and he plays this haunted medic. He's kind of like the emotional heart while he's in the film. He's great. He is amazing. Man, Adam Goldberg as Melisch.
It's funny how many people in here ended up in friends, but dude, Adam Goldberg in this movie. So you love them too? Well, I mean, I love him in general because anytime I see him, I think of Days and Confuse, which is one of my favorite movies.
Yeah. And he's such like a cathartic character in days and confused that like, I don't know, he gives, he gives me like such warmth just to see him ever, you know, in any other movie. It's just like that carries over.
Or it's just like, oh yeah, I love that guy. Love seeing him here. I'm glad that, you know, we had a Jewish character to have that kind of commentary, you know, obviously Spilberg being Jewish and forgot to mention in the bookend opening, you know, having the little star of David statue in the cemetery is like one of the first ones that we see as it pans over. And then there's obviously multiple moments with Melish where he's thinking of his Jewishness or like angry about the Nazis and historical context there. So I like this character a lot. He's really the most tragic character in the film because when we eventually get to the mission to save Private Ryan, he's not the first choice to go. He should have never had to go. But the person that Captain Miller wanted to take had already been killed.
So he's just kind of the fill in on the trip. And then he ends up meeting the most brutal fate of anyone. And the shame of it is, it's from a Hitler youth knife that someone hands to him after the D-Day invasion. And he grabs it and he makes a quip about it. But then he starts bawling crying. So he's so cool though throughout the movie. I really appreciated him and then his compatriot and something that Spilberg said, he casted Tom Hanks because he wanted an actor who would look uncomfortable pulling the pen out of a grenade with his teeth. That was why Tom Hanks came to him first.
But he wanted kind of an East Coast vibe for this company. So you have all the guys that you mentioned and then you have Vin Diesel who no one knew who he was when this movie came out. As fresh-faced as Vin Diesel ever was as an actor, as Caparzo. I didn't realize that Vin Diesel had written, directed, and starred in an indie low-budget movie before this.
And that's where Spilberg had discovered him. This movie called Strays. Have you ever heard of that? Yes, I have. Okay, have you seen it? I have not seen it. Yeah, I had never heard of that. So I was just like, oh wow, I didn't realize he directed and wrote. But he's a meathead basically.
Right. Well, that's something that he did in the casting too is, for actors, he hired a lot of guys who are also filmmakers because Private Ryan is Matt Damon, who obviously did Goodwill Hunting around this time and won an Oscar for writing that. But also, probably now, and I liked him a lot then, but probably my favorite person in the unit is Edward Burns is Rybin, who is kind of the rebel soldier from Brooklyn.
He's got Brooklyn stitched on the back of his jacket. He did a lot of independent film work. I think he's really great here. So yeah, man, the casting is perfect.
So good. Yeah, I always think of the movie Confidence with Edward Burns. I don't know why, it wasn't like a great movie, but like, I don't know, just around the early 2000s, feeling like, oh, maybe he was going to break out and have more of a star power, but he never quite did.
No, he does do the B &H commercials now. There you go. That's all you need.
That's all you need for living. Oh, and last but not least, rounding out the group that goes in the mission, one of my favorite character actors of all time, Jeremy Davies, playing one of my least favorite characters of all time, Corporal Upham. I mean, there's some complexity there too. Like there's definitely parts where you're just like, he's unlikeable in some ways, but he is likable in other ways too, wouldn't you agree? He very much is. And I remember at the time in an interview, Spielberg said he is the stand in for me in this movie. If I went to war, this would be me, which is like, if I was just marching and cutting up, that's cool. I want Spielberg around. If my life is in Spielberg's hands, I don't want that.
Yeah, I mean, I feel like he's kind of the surrogate for the audience, for most audience members who's like, I've never been to war. I don't know how to shoot a rifle. I'd be scared shitless as well.
I don't know how to handle myself in these kinds of situations. And I mean, he's kind of bumbling and he's definitely like the intellectual, he wants to bring his typewriter with him, which is funny that Tom Hanks is like, you don't need that crap. But in real life, Tom Hanks is like a typewriter aficionado or whatever.
Righty collects all old typewriters. Yeah, I mean, I hear what you're saying, but by the time I was 16, I had handled the rifle a lot. So I didn't have the same sympathies for him.
I was quite angry out of something to say about that when we get laid in the film. What a weakling, what a puss. What a douche. That's right. That's right. Yeah. I mean, there's definitely moments where, you know, we'll talk about later with Adam Goldberg's character for sure.
Yeah. But yeah, that's our cast of characters for sure. Would you say other than Tom Hanks, do you have a favorite out of these guys? Like you said, I think you said Reiben was your favorite Edward Burns character? Yeah, I've really appreciated him more being older now. I appreciate his character more. And he goes through a pretty cool arc.
Everyone kind of has a little storyline here. Everyone feels like a real person. I make this analogy a lot, but if the lights went off in the room, he wouldn't fall down like a marionette dummy. It feels like all these guys are real guys who have real lives. Real guys, real inner lives. I really appreciate Giovanni Robisi's character, the whole scene where he's talking about his mother, because there's this whole idea of the mission.
They're on this mission to save this one man. How's his mother going to feel like all her sons are dead from the war? But Robisi has this great speech about or tells a story about his mother and just the emotionality of that. I'm not really understanding why he would pretend he was asleep when she would come home from work and like she'd come home early to connect with him. I know it's just like this touching kind of emotional moment in the midst of all the gore and mayhem.
But yeah, like you, I think as a southern man, as a Christian man, and this guy's like Barry Pepper is like the scripture quoting sniper badass, like hard not to love this guy and then be really sad when he gets blown up in the bell tower later. Right. I read this review by one person that, okay, I'll start this over.
I read this review by a complete who called this character the sociopathic sniper played by Barry Pepper. And I've ripped the newspaper in half and I burned it. When was this when you first saw the movie? It was when I was older. You're like tearing your garments like a devout Jewish man, you know, like render garments, you're in this newspaper.
How dare you talk about Barry Pepper? Cast despair down on my boy. Shoot this gun.
Hey, you know what, to book in that, I'm not going to say book in to get in this episode. The DNA sequence, right, it's 20 minutes and then you kind of have 10 more minutes of the end of the sequence that I don't feel like violence is ever glorified or war is ever glorified. There is a huge cathartic moment though, whenever they put the flamethrower into the German bunker, which they've just been raining down bullets and killing them for minutes upon minutes of the film. So for that to just get incinerated and to see the German soldiers falling out on fire, which could grief, they really shot that man. They really put a flamethrower in there and burn real dudes who fell out of there. And then they ran up to them with fire hydrants right after they said cut, not fire hydrants, you know, extinguishers. Yeah, fire extinguishers. Yeah.
Yeah, that's insane. Yeah, it definitely is a cathartic moment. Like you said, there's there's not much like glorification here. I feel like it's definitely like the cruelty and misery of war and the injustice and everything. But there is some catharsis there where you're just like fire. Yeah, be with some but it comes out to me a little bit.
Right. It's very cathartic. But at the same time, whenever the guy says, don't shoot, let him burn.
It's like, I understand why he's saying that this dude has just been traumatized in a way that he will be having nightmares for for the rest of his life. That's fine. I mean, that's not that's not cool. But that that's understandable and totally fine.
And I probably would have said the same thing if I was in his position. I'm glad you bring up that little piece of dialogue, though, because it is something that Spielberg like continually does throughout the movie where I feel like I don't know, maybe it's purposeful to undercut some of that catharsis of like seeing the enemy, our villains in this movie, the Germans like seeing them just like brutally dispatched and being happy about that. But then we also have to bring back like the fallen nature and in reality and just like, I don't know, just the depravity of war and just like, we're humans killing humans, you know, and just how fucked up that is to begin with.
Right. Well, he follows that up immediately with the Germans trying to surrender and a few soldiers know they're trying to surrender and just shoot them because it's like screw these guys. Like it's just the cynicism, I think of Spielberg being like, look, I'm not trying to candy coat this or or gloss over this. Like this is some like 1950s World War Two movie where it's like, we're the good guys and they're the this isn't propaganda for America. Basically, you know, it's like this is just the reality.
And I appreciate that. And I think those those guys trying to surrender their check, you know, just reading about it, they're like Czechoslovakians who are imprisoned to be like, basically, in the German army, working for the German army, but like as prisoners of war. And basically, they're saying in Czech, they're like, Oh, no, I didn't kill anybody, please don't shoot, I'm Czech. And then the guys just off them like whatever, they're just dispatch them like they're just the evil Germans. Well, one thing this movie does better than any movie I've seen is that Spielberg walks this tightrope, he does this balancing act where he shows these men are incredibly heroic, except that put up all these men are incredibly heroic men. And they're fighting against an evil cause. Someone had to fight against his evil cause and they're doing it. War is terrible. And violence is not to be glorified. But at the same time, the heroism of these men needs to be heralded and remembered.
He does a great job of that of balancing all of it. And even I mean, I don't have a problem with patriotism at all. And he puts the American flag in there in a way to where it's slightly faded. If you want to go rah rah America, which I like to go rah rah America, but maybe you don't, I don't think that you're going to watch this film and be upset in any way, unless you're really, really looking very hard to be upset. Yeah, I mean, I think you're right.
He does take that heroism and then balances it with the humanity and the reality of like, these are real men. These are just emotional people. Some of them are trigger happy or some of them are vindictive.
Some of them, they're just traumatized by hundreds of their buddies being killed right there. So yeah, and it's just like the fallen nature of man is the way I see it. And so yeah, there's like heroes here, but yeah, there's also just like brokenness and just like, what are we doing? And like as we get on into the mission as well to like, is this like a noble thing that we're being asked to do by our government? Our military.
So you're right. I think he does like, he walks a fine line so much to where I'm like, not quite sure the message is not overt as it would be, like I said, from just the straightforward, oh yeah, we're good guys, bad guys, you know, and this is just like a fun war movie. Like, there's definitely a lot more going on here to unpack. And I think it's pretty astounding that does all that without really coming out right and saying it overtly where it's like, it's shown through feeling and it's shown through character, dialogue and image, you know, so I think just that one little bit of the guy saying, oh, don't shoot him, let him burn.
There's just so much, even within that, that speaks so much about humanity. Right, because it makes me think like on the most minute level compared to this, when I played sports in high school, some of the technical fouls I got were roughing someone up because I got pissed off that they did something on one of my teammates. So in this situation where you're watching your friends and your fellow soldiers get annihilated and ripped to shreds by bullets, your reaction to that is probably going to be equally as extreme. So yeah, I mean, I feel like there's a primal instinct there too, where you're just like, fuck you, I'm going to kill you now, you know, exactly.
I mean, I feel like this movie has everything, everything that it needs to touch upon. Right, because there's great sensitivity too, in these quiet moments with these characters, and we're like seeing, you know, not only like men at murder, but we're, you know, men at war, but we're seeing men like being philosophical, men like thinking deeply and questioning and I mean, as much as you hate up him, like he's a part of that, you know, other side. So, you know, I only don't like up him at the end. And there was a time where I thought he like makes the movie worse, but he really doesn't actually really appreciate him as a character. Yeah, it's like a different shade, a different side, you know, like a different type of man in the situation that shows you the full experience.
Yeah, right, exactly. And I like too, how once we move on from the D-Day invasion, we go to the homeland for a little while because you have to have context on how Private Ryan, who we have not met and don't meet until very late in the film, his brothers have all died. There was a law or a rule in the military after all these brothers were on this one ship in the Pacific that sank, they all died. So there was a rule that stated that siblings couldn't serve in the same unit, they had to be separated. So parents wouldn't lose all their kids in one incident. But in this case, all of his brothers have died in battle.
So they decide they're going to put a unit together to go and rescue him for the sake of his mother. I love all the homeland stuff. I mean, it's Spielberg has aesthetic perfection, where he goes back to the homeland.
Everything just looks so incredible. You get the the call lines, you get the girls picking up the phone, you get the military offices, you get the car driving out to give Mama Ryan the bad news with the cane fields and I'm not cane fields. I'm sorry, I'm in Louisiana guys. You all got wheat and wheat fields. You all got wheat fills up in Iowa, the the fields there and you know, everything's shot and this desaturated. The cinematographer said it was 40% of the original color.
So these golden, faint green tones and man, I just appreciated all that stuff. I like the letter from Abraham Lincoln that gets read. It shows you why they would want to rescue Ryan, why back on the homeland, the military would want him to be rescued before you get sent back there where Hanks is making choices on who's going to come with him on this mission. Right. When we do go back to them receiving word of the mission, we've got Darren Farina, which I appreciated. I think his character and talking to Hanks, he talks a little bit about, oh, you know, they've got you going on this PR mission basically, like for publicity in a way. So it's kind of spun a little differently than what we see where it's like, no, we need to bring him home for his mother's sake. But I don't know, just to kind of open up that question there too, like, do you feel like there is a sense of this or a degree of this where it's like, this is for publicity, this is for PR or is that like the cynicism of these soldiers just like, oh man, what they've got us out here, like chasing down this one guy, we're all going to get killed for this one man.
Like, is that really rioters that worth it? And that question is all throughout the film, like kind of the whole like moral conundrum of the situation. I don't know, I guess as I open that up, if we're just taking things as shown at face value, then it is like, oh, we discovered that these boys, you know, we're all brothers and they got killed. Well, we need to bring the last one home and that like seems very like cut and dry and simple and he reads the Abraham Lincoln letter, but I don't know, the cynic in me is kind of like, yeah, but publicity, you know, broken systems, fucking America. It's very earnest. The guy that's reading the line definitely is very emotional when he's reading the Lincoln letter. I don't think on that end, at least as the film presents it, that there's supposed to be any cynicism there or anything about publicity or anything else. I don't think that's there at all.
I do think that whenever the men get the order to do that, obviously. And film shake listeners, if you enjoy my philosophical monologues, I have one for the end of this episode. So get ready for that.
That's coming on later. Nihilism, stay tuned. Nihilism and saving private Ryan is coming. So yeah, the soldiers are definitely cynical about it. But as the film presents this, I don't think that it's presenting any cynicism there, whatever you are in the homeland and the mission is asked to be performed.
I don't think there's any at all. Maybe that's just the men rubbing off on me. There's cynicism rubbing off of me, and I want to relate to them. Maybe so.
Because I'm with them. But yeah, I think you're right. Like as the film presents it from the scenes that we see, it's pretty earnest and straightforward. We don't want this poor woman to suffer anymore, kind of thing. Right. Well, you know, this is based on a real mission. It was private. Well, was he a private?
I don't remember his rank, but it was Neeland, was his name, who lost three brothers. And when you watch the historical research that was done on this, it was an earnest mission. It wasn't for publicity. So again, I mean, I wasn't there.
But as far as the historical evidence that's presented, the 4K extras for this film, it seems legit. You weren't there, man. It was all rhetoric, man. Government, dude. Man, take that crap to the 60s, bruh.
We're in the 40s right now. Okay, okay. All right. We'll chill on that.
All right. We got the mission. We got the men setting out. And like I said, just the moral question of how we're going to basically send this group of like, how many men is it?
Let's count them. You got Miller, one, you got Rybin, two, you got Horvath, three, up them, four, Kaparzo, five, Melish, six, Jackson, seven, Wade, eight. Yeah, it's eight guys.
That's right. Eight guys. Yeah, just the question of, all right, are we going to sacrifice or put in danger these eight guys to save this one? And so that's brought up throughout. So I don't know, what do you think about that? What do you think the film is saying in that regard? Well, I think that is the main question of the film. And I will say exactly what I think it's saying whenever I give the monologue later, but it's key to the movie.
And I really enjoyed that the soldiers are discussing and debating that as they're marching and, you know, kind of belly aching about it. As he said, and man, the scenes where they're marching in the, it's supposed to be the French countryside. I think they filmed it all in England, but it looks great. Man, Spielberg can shoot a movie and they're marching across like a hill at night with explosions going off in the background.
It looks incredible. It's all great. I like that these discussions continue the whole movie, like especially Reibin really, really is not happy about the mission. There's a point where they go to this town, there's the scene where Caparzo gets killed, Vin Diesel exits stage right because he wants to try to save this girl and exposes his position and gets hit by a sniper and then Barry Pepper shoots the sniper through his scope. And it's through his scope, which is pretty badass. And just reading about how they like the way they rigged up that shot with no like special effects, like all in-camera stuff, where I couldn't even describe like what I read now about the prosthetic and how they made that happen, like the explosive in the scope and all this stuff. And it just boggles my mind, like some of the effects in this movie. I haven't mentioned the Oscars and like, you know, nominated for 11 Oscars, I think at one five and one, you know, like we said, best director for Spielberg, but best effects.
I mean, come on, what else are you going to give this to? Best effects of the 90s, maybe? Like, would you go that far?
Maybe, man. I mean, this movie really, when people are like, oh man, the 90s known for crappy CGI. Man, there's some CGI in this movie. Yeah. You can't tell that it's there because I really feel like the 90s, especially late 90s, when done right, it's really that in the early 2000s, it's the best blending of CGI with practical because you're still leaning on practical for almost everything.
You're only using CGI for augmentation, like adding a few more boats on the beach when you get a long shot of the beach after the invasion. So I'm with you, man. Yeah, I'll give you that. I think so.
I think so. I think this is that sweet time, like you said, between the two where CGI is not so developed that you're going to lean more heavily on it like you would in a 2023 Marvel movie or something, where you can just tell everything is CGI, but like, okay, it looks great, but we all know it's CGI. We all know this was a green screen. Whereas here, like you said, the way they're using it is subtle because we know it's not up to that par yet to where we could really just come out right and show you it. So we have to blend it.
We have to hide it, augment and kind of, I guess, do a little makeup work. So I mean, that's a whole another reason why I love the 90s, right? Because I think this is just that sweet time between the two with the practical and the digital. I agree.
It's perfect. It's kind of like people will still reference T2 or Jurassic Park in that vein. And those are early 90s.
The 90s, they're the only decade, right? What are you going to do? Also dig this Nathan Fillion cameo here, where he's a private Ryan, but not the private Ryan, but they don't know that. So they think they found their guy and they're done. They tell the guy, sorry, all your brothers dead. Oh, yeah, that's our boy from Blast from the Past, Incernity and right. Yeah, he gets knocked around by Brendan Frazier and blast from the past.
Here he gets knocked around emotionally when he says, but my brothers are all in grade school. Right. Poor guy. Right. I love how he's like, are you sure?
Are you sure you didn't have it wrong? And Tom Hanks just like, I'm done with this cluts, you know? Right. And then you get Ryben who would you say it's fair that he seems to be kind of the most emotionally and intellectually mature guy out of all these guys? That's an interesting question for his character, because like you said, he's kind of the rebel. He's kind of the hothead in some ways, but he also has a composure about him at the same time. Even when later he's threatening to walk off and Tom Hanks says his whole line about like every man I kill, I feel farther away from home. A lesser character might be more like easily moved and break down or something, but he still kind of like starts to walk off even though like eventually he follows Hanks. There's something about like his composure and his like posture that does feel mature and stoic in a way, even though he's also a hothead.
I don't know. It's an interesting character. He's pretty complex. Again, Spielberg here being such a pro whenever he does have that moment where he basically mutinies that's just built up to very natural and beautifully because what does he say when he sees Nathan Fillion's character crying and kind of taken away and Caparzo is dead and he kind of looks down and mutters to himself. He says, fuck Ryan, because he's already kind of done at that point and they've only really started off in the mission and he just kind of gets more and more jaded.
Yeah, he just gets more jaded from there. They continue on in their mission and they find this machine gun nest and they see that it's been shooting a lot of American soldiers and killing them because it's kind of an ambush, but they've come at just the right angle. They have not been ambushed and they have a chance to take out this machine gun nest, but it's not something that's easy to do.
It's not a part of their mission and they could easily just go around it, but Miller wants to take it out because they could maybe kill some soldiers later and really, I think, and I don't know if maybe you'll agree with me or not, the reason that he wants to really do it is because he feels like he's on this pointless mission and he wants to do something that would actually make a difference and that's why he gives the order to do this. Did you feel the same? I felt like, yeah, there was something going on there like his struggle to obey orders, you know, because he mentions that a couple times, like, these are my orders and then I think it was, was it time-sized more? It was like, oh man, they took away your squadron. He's like, it's not my squadron, it was the Army's. So he has this very just kind of like dutiful, okay, I'll just kind of do what I'm told, like this is how it is, kind of begrudgingly in a way, but yeah, I'm just gonna stick with the plan. This is the mission, you know, you can definitely feel the weight of the world on Tom Hanks as the captain here and like you said, I related with him way more than I did watching this as a younger man where I might think of myself as more as one of these privates, Ryan's privates by the way, no, but yeah, just seeing late 30s now seeing myself and the role of like a leader and like the weight that comes with that and just this guy on the verge of a nervous breakdown, it seems, this handshaking and just like, you know, having to stay strong in front of his men, but then like sneak away and cry when I think this is what after Wade dies from the machine gun nest, he's got to like kind of go and have like his moment alone. So yeah, I can see all that where he's weighing like trying to follow orders and do what's right, you know, follow his rank and his commanders and everything, but yeah, at the same time, he's like, well, he's making concessions here for himself in a way, because yeah, like other times guys are like, why are we doing this?
You know, why are we going after this one guy? He's like, that's what we've been told to do. And but then, you know, when it comes to this, he's like, well, this is our mission too to kill Germans, right? We're here to fight the war. You know, we're here to win the war. But yeah, you definitely feels in a way like selfish to a degree, even though he's like, yeah, we're going to like stop these guys from ambushing the next, you know, row of guys.
But I know, there's something underneath it too, that's like, I want to feel like I have some sort of purpose. And so maybe would you agree that this is like one of the first times we see, I don't know if you'd call it a moral failing or like a failure. on his part as far as like he makes this decision and there's consequences to it and obviously the consequence of Ryben mutinying afterwards. So how did you see that as far as like his choice?
Did he make the right or wrong choice or is there a right or wrong choice in this situation? Jordan, did you just say the word purpose or meaning? Yes. What happens whenever life doesn't have that anymore? Nihilism.
Not yet, almost there. But yeah, definitely you have the scene before this between the sequence where Kaparzo dies and then they go to the machine gun nests where it's really this haunting scene and this church that they stay at overnight, this candlelit scene where they're all talking. Most war film like documentary film when you're filming guys who are just talking you can hear booms going off in the background. So there's always explosions distantly in the soundtrack no matter what's happening.
Yeah. And you have the scene with Wade that you talked about where he talks about his mom which is a really haunting scene because I think he's thinking like man I wish I could have spent that time with her and not fake like I was asleep because I might die which he does in the scene that we're talking about. But then you have Miller in the scene talking in a horror bath and telling him like he's basically like starting that to have doubts about his decision making any meaning and what he's doing and it's like getting to him so badly that he's got these horrible shakes that just come and go. Yeah, I really feel here that he's searching for meaning and what he's doing very hard. He's talked about how he's already ordered men to their deaths and wonder if he's made the right decisions.
Yeah. And there's a justification there too where he's like oh like every man that I've ordered to death it was to save like a hundred more right so you can kind of live with yourself if you go down that thought path as far as like OK well one guy equals a hundred guys like I can live with that but then Horvath brings to him as like well the mission this time is a man. OK eight guys for one guy like that's less justifiable. And then when they get to the guy Jordan he doesn't even want to go. Right.
Which is the kind of poetic irony of it all. I couldn't remember if Ryben had said this or not but they say throughout the film or it's like I hope Ryan's worth it. I think Tom Hanks character says that at one point like Ryan this Ryan better be worth it and just this idea of like when they see the first Ryan the fake Ryan I think it was Ryben who was like I told you this guy was going to be an asshole. Then you meet Matt Damon you know like all American like great smile Matt Damon who's just like I want to stick with my my brothers like the only brothers that have left you know I'm just going to stay here and fight and you're like oh damn it why did he have to be a hero. You know like I wish I could have hated this guy but he's actually like a really great guy.
Right. And I love the transition from the machine gun net scene which got the way that he films it through the sniper lens that that your boy up and is holding. I mean my boy.
Total Spielberg excellence. Is this my boy. Is this my boy now. That's right.
That's right. It's my surrogate. I'm the weakling. I'm the pansy typewriter guy the punty the way you used to say pansy back in the day always cracked me up. It was like pansy. You used to say the word in a funny way a long time ago. You did. You had always cracked me up.
I don't remember this. But yeah what's crazy about that is apparently Spielberg's made like on the fly decision to film it all through the up and perspective and his monocular where they didn't have enough light or something to film the machine gun nest in the proper way. So it's like all shot from a distance like through the scope and everything and I thought man that's it just it feels so fluid and feel so planned and perfect for that moment. But it's just like kind of nuts that Spielberg just thought of that on the fly. Yeah that's what like Matt Damon and Ed Burns who were like watching Spielberg like a hawk to try to learn from Emma saying like I don't understand how he just makes all these impulsive decisions that he has a split second to make and they're all right.
Right. Like I would make that split session impulsive decision and it would just like be all wrong and you know my house would be on fire or whatever. But Spielberg's here like do this do this do this do this to 25 different people and it's all the right thing to say to those 25 people is crazy.
That's nuts. Then you get this emotional death scene for Wade where again G. Avain Rabisi man he's so good in this movie he's like acting out of his mind. He's amazing in the death scene. Yeah and he's the medic so they're like tell us what to do. Like you're the medic you gotta tell us how to help you so it makes it even more emotionally devastating. Yeah it's more tragic right.
So like when the medic dies yeah you're screwed but also just yeah the the motion of that moment where it's just like keep giving a morphine because they know like there's nothing you're gonna really do for him at that point and then the way he cries mama is just like haunting heartbreaking and just like calls back to him talking about his mother earlier just like dude fuck. The script by Robert uh how do you say the last name Rodat is great. Again that's something that I remember reading some criticism for back in the day and being like oh look at the scripts a little weak it's not it's awesome. I mean the writing's brilliant. For sure the setup is great the characters are great I mean all that's coming from the script but I mean Spielberg works his magic with it but it's kind of crazy that this guy just he didn't have a whole lot of other credits to his name but he's like was reading about the historical event that this was based on just came up the story pitched it to the studio and they're like yeah we'll buy that and then he writes the script and then it gets down from Tom Hanks to Spielberg and then it's made into a movie that's the dream. It's crazy crazy and then he writes this brilliant monologue that Tom Hanks gives where basically the whole unit falls apart after this he's given this order to attack this machine gun nest and now Wade is dead and there's a German soldier who survived and everyone wants to kill him. Man the scene where they take the nest and they're trying to help Wade and then Wade dies and they look up and this one German soldier is still there just watching him and they just all run and beat him.
The way that he shoots that is amazing because it's like at a distance and they all want to kill him. Upum does not want that to happen he's pleading to the captain to not let that happen. The captain it's like okay well just put a blindfold on him and whatever and then everything falls apart. Ryben wants to leave he's done with it and then you get this great speech and also man John Williams the score for this movie there's no music during the battle scenes at all. The music is only in between that the really underscore emotional moments in the film. I think it's brilliant. This cue here is one of my favorite John Williams cues ever. He plays this beautiful really tragic somber music under Hanks saying you know I'm just a school teacher I'm like you I have no idea why I have to do this I just want to go home.
Speaker 2: And that is enough to get everyone to stick together and forge ahead and they're marching in this field. Melosh is singing some Duke Ellington to himself. This German truck comes across the field and they get down they attack it but then someone else attacks it and it's Ryan with another group of men like you said you meet Ryan and and a bazooka. Before we move on too far I do want to mention we were talking about the writing there and how this idea of Tom Hanks's character like where he's from and what did he do back home that's this running gag of all the men have like a pot going where they're betting on what he does because it's like it's this big mystery right and I guess he's trying to play it close to the vest. I think there's some interesting commentary there too of just an English school teacher but if you knew that about me maybe you wouldn't trust me as much as this captain and the freaking war you know like that doesn't really inspire a whole lot of confidence. So I don't know if that's part of him playing that close to his vest or if that's just I think that's just his character too or just like alright this is for myself this is just like information that I'm going to kind of keep to myself and not going to overshare which you know it's not something I can relate to at all but I think that is a brilliant moment of writing where you take all that setup about like the mystery of what did he do back home and then Tom Hanks uses that in that moment to bring these guys together and kind of like it's almost like what you do with your kids you know when they're having like a meltdown about one thing and you're like oh hey look there's a puppy over here walking down the street like check this out oh and they forget about their meltdown it's like the same thing he does here like oh don't worry about Wayne dying just now like oh by the way I was a school teacher oh snap all right cool let's move on not that it's that lighthearted or goofy or whatever I'm just me and stupid but anyway all that to say I think it is a cool moment of writing there that that's a very strategic moment for the character and the film to reveal that information and then use that as like a bridge to move forward. Yes it's a revelation to the audience dude not just the men under his command so I thought that that was pretty brilliantly done and then you meet Ryan it's Matt Damon who no one knows who that is. Matt Damon no one knows who that is back then we're just like oh it's just all American looking dude we didn't know who's gonna be that Matt Damon.
Well that was the whole point right of Spielberg casting him he's like I saw him in Goodwill Hunting I think you know he's a great actor I want somebody who's kind of unknown but little did he know that he would become like an overnight star right because of Goodwill Hunting just be like this breakout star from that and then especially this for sure and he is with these guys who are defending this bridge it's a very small group of men they barely have any munitions or weapons but they have to guard this bridge because there are only two bridges left in the area that the Germans can use to cross and they would rather not have to blow the bridge up they would rather defend it first but it's kind of a hopeless mission because again it's barely any guys and whenever Miller and everyone else shows up it's only six of them because Parza's dead Wade's dead and they're like man if you if you're our reinforcements this is a sick joke but they're not they're just there for Ryan who says he's not gonna go with them so they have to make a decision here like what are they gonna do Ryan doesn't want to go with them they don't have any orders to help protect this bridge their orders were just Ryan and he won't come with them so are they just gonna leave what's gonna happen here uh you know how about a monologue about nihilism Jordan all right why not we haven't had one of those in a while let's get let's get to it man okay so Jeremy Davies man I really like this guy he was obviously in ravenous that we covered a couple years back from 99 that's right more nihilism yes definitely he's so good in that film just a really good character actor I love him in justified as Dickie which he I think he won a prime time Emmy for and he played Daniel Faraday on Lost which was a great character he really is a central character to the show even though he's not in it a lot so since he was since Jeremy Davies was such a great character on Lost I'll start off this monologue by immediately crapping on the famous philosopher Jeremy Bentham whose name is used as an alias on Lost in fact there's an episode title with Jeremy Bentham in it so Jeremy Bentham was a philosopher the central tenet of Jeremy Bentham's philosophy of proto utilitarianism states it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong can you see how that would apply here Jordan yeah yeah for and to that saving private Ryan says not so fast Jeremy Bentham not so fast indeed our lead character captain John Miller who has already been questioning his purpose in the events leading up to the film now finds himself falling into abject nihilism as the events of the film unfold nihilism for those new to a film shake nihilism monologue is the philosophical idea that rejects all moral and religious values is baseless and states that any attempts at knowledge or human connection are futile something that on its surface is perfectly exemplified by the overt actions of war when Miller is given the order to rescue Ryan Miller cannot answer his subordinates request to justify the rescue of one man at the risk of their own lives when they are more than one man and you can't say it's the size of his men to save hundreds of men but not one man right it makes no sense indeed Miller moves from outright deflection to a verbal rejection of the company's orders when he admits he is only following those orders to get home that's what he says in the monologue he just wants to get this done so he can go home right but then what does he say immediately after that he states his fear that when he reaches home he will be unrecognizable as the person who left he doesn't even think his wife is going to recognize him so he would live an unelified existence that only appears at home on the nihilistic landscape of the battlefield because every time he kills somebody he's farther away from home that's right exactly oh thank you Jordan thank you and the film's pivotal scene where Miller reveals his past to his men the only meaning he can impart to them is his own sense of meaninglessness with which his men identify to the degree that they're galvanized to rejoin his command because I mean he basically tells him like I just I'm doing what I'm doing so I can leave here to a place that I don't belong in anymore I mean that's understandable like and like an interesting tactic of a leader I suppose like look this is all meaningless guys but you know we got to do this just to get home come on so next time you're in a leadership role try that on right it's all meaningless right now they were old enough to supervise people right right nothing matters nothing matters just do it right so in the philosophical world of saving private Ryan utilitarianism is completely wiped off the table by the order to save private Ryan so that whole idea is just wiped off the table it's gone you want to satisfy the needs of many uh too bad you you have to sacrifice the needs of these eight men for this one guy so the loss of the utilitarianism which is Miller's perspective that leads to this sense of nihilistic meaninglessness there's no meaning to this however meaning is regained and nihilism is rejected when sergeant Horvath introduces the idea of deontological ethics to the group after Ryan refuses to leave his post as Ryan doesn't feel he deserves to go home when his fellow soldiers must stay Horvath tells Miller pardon me thinks the kids right what has he done to deserve this if he wants to stay here fine let's leave him and go home but another part of me thinks what if by some miracle we stay and actually make it out of here someday we might look back on this and decide that saving private Ryan was the one decent thing we were able to pull out of this whole god awful shitty mess like you said captain we all earn the right to go home the ontology states that the morality of an action should be based on whether that action itself is right or wrong under a series of rules and principles not whether it results in the greatest happiness of the greatest number indeed the act of saving private Ryan is the right thing to do even though in the end it causes happiness to the least number of people Miller's wife becomes a widow Horvath Karparzo Melish Jackson and Wade will all be mourned deeply by their families because they die and yet Ryan gets to live it all makes no sense and yet makes the most sense so in conclusion Jeremy Bentham is an asshole the end in conclusion but then why is it or what's the argument for the idea that saving private Ryan is indeed the right choice to make or the like the most decent thing to do in that case well Jordan I can only give us from a Christian perspective and quote Matthew 1812 what do you think if a man is a hundred sheep and one of them is gone astray does he not leave the 99 on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray or I could quote mark 836 what good is it for someone to gain the whole world yet forfeit their soul yeah this guy needs to be saved for the sake of his mother because the whole family has been worn out it's the moral thing to do it doesn't save more people and many people are risking their life for this one person but it's the right thing to do because again deontology it's following whatever a set of you may be a set of religious principles maybe a set of moral principles here I'm obviously inserting Christianity because that's my moral principles but I think the film is definitely rooted in Judeo-Christian principles considering the opening images of this are nothing but crosses and stars of David so right yeah that's interesting still conflicted about that as far as if that is the right choice or not but you probably should be that's why this film is so good it poses so many philosophical questions that I as a 16 year old was not really ready to deal with I just thought oh this is a cool war movie man war war sucks and this movie is really well made look at that dude he gets shot in the helmet then he takes off his helmet then he gets shot in the head those bad ass that is a philosophical mini movie quandary in itself that last 10 seconds where the guy is saved by his helmet freak incident his helmet happens to stop this very large bullet then he pauses for a moment to admire the amazing thing that has just happened to him by taking off his helmet where another bullet immediately hits him in the head with that his helmet and he dies nihilism but that's early on in the movie you know so that's early on when we're just like feeling really nihilistic and everything's meaningless so I appreciate your your monologue here to like bring us back to Horvath and I guess just kind of like hey we could be heroes you know I just kind of what I take from his position there is like we could be heroic and like standing with this troop and like kind of doing what Ryan is doing like staying here and fighting the good fight and then ultimately bringing this guy home afterward like that could I guess you know like without that final battle maybe there would have been less of a victory or less of a sense of like accomplishment because if it was just like oh we got here then we brought Ryan home and then like I don't know on the way home everybody died except for the two guys but you know because of the struggle and the strife of defending this post and joining with these other brothers and like seeing the heroic nature of Matt Damon who just exudes heroic heroic nature through his his bright white smile isn't it ironic that the one soldier who is most opposed to the mission ribbon is the only of the original eight members to survive yeah along with up him who like but he's not one of the well yeah you're right he is one of the original eight I guess you know because he wasn't in the invasion at the beginning and he's a giant yeah I don't include him no you're right up him does do ribbon like you said he's he's pissed at Ryan but then he keeps staring at him giving him like this mean look but then when Ryan looks back at him and he realizes how heroic and really worthwhile of a human Ryan is he kind of nods at him respectfully and does a really a lot of heroic things in the battle specifically to protect Ryan at the risk of his own life which we can get into because Jordan this battle geez dude anyone who thinks this is extraneous which I've read you're stupid like you're just don't don't watch movies do something else do something else no it's a great battle yeah I love the sense of doom beforehand you have the edith pf song playing on the record yeah they built this incredible set in the middle of nowhere and the English countryside then destroyed it so that it's this destroyed town it's this apocalyptic setting as the Germans approach you get the ground rumbling with the tanks it just really feels like there's nothing beyond this like this is the end it's incredible right yeah like you said that sense of dread they're listening to the record and then just hearing the tanks off in the distance coming everyone just kind of stopping and waiting and then shifting into battle mode I thought that was a great moment yeah man and you get the prep before that where they lay out what they're gonna try to do and what they can hope to do with their meager munitions like you said the sticky bombs which Hank says hey check the manual it's in there you fill a sock with a bunch of explosives and coated in grease and put a fuse that's pretty legit that one guy who uses it gets blown up and it goes more in the hanks thinking like I keep ordering men to their death right eventually it two guys do it correctly and it does blow the tread off the tank but the first guy who does it like he said he times it wrong and blows himself up and it's right in front of hanks and he sees it and he's just like god did it again just blood splatter oh shucks did it again and we didn't mention too along with his trimmer he kind of phases out of time a few times in the movie where everything just slows down and he's just in a daze everything's in slow motion with this wine in the background that's again incredible filmmaking yeah nice touch in this battle you got the two machine guns that they have melashes on one of them and Jackson the sniper is guarding the other one and up them has to run ammo between the two guns depending on who needs the ammo more at a given time you have ryban and miller basically on top of ryan they let him do some heroic things but at one point ryban kneels on him and sits on runs him down so like if they get shot at like he'll take the bullets and ryan is underneath him which i thought was once funny and very poignant that he won't let ryan go anywhere but dude this battle scene is insane basically everyone dies except for the two that we mentioned the vast majority of the men i don't know there were like 15 guys there in ryan's group they die they're up against over 50 german soldiers four tanks it's just totally brutal in a way it's more brutal than the d-day mission because of its inevitability because d-day like they're trying to take the beach it was like an end goal you're early in the movie here it's basically just don't die and almost everyone fails at that and you got melis with the knife through his chest like slowly hand-to-hand combat with this german up in the apartment where he's bunked out the machine gun runs out of bullets and just oh man that that's like torturous is that the most brutal scene in any movie i think so other than like my wife always talks about the slit of the throat and brave heart and then i didn't realize she had solved this when she was really young too and that was a scene that just haunted her mind so she would came in late to the movie and like saw that that was about to happen and left the room the slit is kind of quick this takes a long time yeah because you have the fight leading up to it where the other guy that was on the machine gun with him gets shot in the throat so he is rolling like just grabbing his throat going dying right while they're fighting for their lives they each keep taking the upper hands before the damn knife gets pulled out and at first it's like all right melis is gonna stab this guy or up him who's downstairs is gonna just come up and shoot this guy yeah but then up him this whole movie is showing you like this is what heroism looks like here's two and a half hours of a bunch of guys being heroes up let me show you what it looks like if there's a giant put you here too because up and breaks down and cries on the stairs he can't go up the stairs damn it up I hate you so much I mean I mean it's it's very frustrating as an audience member where you're just like damn it just go up that stairs and shoot that guy but at the same time it is realistic it is I don't know if you'd say it's understandable you would hope that you'd have like some adrenaline in that moment to face your fears or whatever and like go and save your brother but him breaking down and just being overwhelmed on the stairs there's something about that that's like I don't know that I sympathize with on one hand but then I'm also like very much frustrated by it at the same time well obviously this guy is not really a soldier he's an interpreter he's not a combat soldier so this is all new to him he's only fired a gun in basic training and Jeremy Davies at this point is a buck 20 soaking wet he's a tiny little guy right his uniform is oversized I get what you're saying I wish that he would have found some heroism because his his boy Melisch gets very slowly stabbed to death and he hears all of it and it's horrible because Spielberg shows the fight for the knife and the knife coming down very very slowly and the German guy is just like muttering to him in German basically like this could be over because he's not really enjoying stabbing Melisch to death you can tell he's not like yes I get to stab this Jew he's more like ah god this sucks I gotta kill this guy there where he's gonna kill me even though I hate the guy and I wish that up on what I came in and shot him yeah he's like pleading with him just let me stab you so we can get this over with in German and then the knife goes in and then he's still fighting it and it slowly goes in till finally it pierces his heart and he dies it's horrible Melisch is gone by the way also Jackson he's sniping all these guys and being a badass but he can't snipe a billion guys and a tank which man he gets blown up by the tank too around the same time that this happens yeah and that shot of him getting blown up by the tank again like you were talking about it the special effects they're a perfect the blending of the CGI if there even is any CGI in the practical because it really looks like Barry Pepper is getting blown up right it's just fire coming through the window it blow yeah burning of alive it's being blown up it is insane going back to up and real quick on the stairwell I think the part of me and I feel like maybe this is what Spielberg is trying to convey through the acting there you know and through the direction of watching him cower in fear and not being able to like find it within himself to go up the stairs and be a warrior but he's also like you said listening to Melisch being stabbed and die and then he's gonna be haunted by that by the rest of his life if he lives haunted by his own cowardice, that is super tragic to me. And I can't help but empathize or sympathize with that character in that moment too. That is almost a fate worse than death. And then the German soldier, the way he's framed in the doorway, it's like this hulking, two tonic terror coming down toward up him. When he sees up him, just shrivel up on the staircase crying. He's like, you're just a child. I can't even deal with you. Just stay here. Right.
You're no threat to me, which is like almost a worse insult than him just taking up on his gun from him and shooting him in the head. Right. Yeah, it's brutal. It's all brutal.
Everything goes south. The Germans bring in this 20 mil gun where it looks like for a minute that maybe they're going to actually beat all these Germans. They've blown up the tank, one of the tanks, they're all trying to throw a grenade in there and then this big gun shows up and just man, probably the most brutal shot in the movie. There's about eight guys hanging on to this tank trying to get into it when this gun pulls up and blast them to bits, just to bits. And the rest of the battle is mostly Ryben and Miller trying to take this gun out as everybody else is killed. They finally do take it out. They get to the bridge.
They cross the bridge. Ryan is still safe. Horvath gets killed. Yeah, I love how Horvath gets injured and he's just like keeps going.
He gets shot like four times. It's just like stumbling along like limping. It's just like, I'm all right. I just like got dusted by or whatever. Oh man.
Yeah, we should call attention to that. It's really tragic that Seismore has had so many personal issues because man, he's such a good actor and a great presence where before he gets shot in the leg, he and this German guy try to pull their pistols on each other and have trouble. Then they're throwing helmets at each other. And yeah, like you said, he gets shot a bunch of times. He has that line.
It's great. At the end here, all these Germans are coming. The tank is blowing everything up. The Panks is about to blow the bridge when the tank fires and he gets blown to the ground.
The trigger for the wiring on the bridge flies out of his hand. Everything is completely and totally hopeless. Matt Damon, and I'm not making this up, is in a fetal position rocking back and forth just freaking out because everything is hopeless. It's not like he can even fight at this point. He's a tank is about to run over him and about 50 or 60 German guys with machine guns are about to shoot him. Not machine guns, but rifles.
It's about as hopeless as possible. And then Tom Hanks just stands up and walks toward the bomb detonator and gets shot by the same damn guy that he and up them let go from the machine gun nest earlier. And then he grabs his pistol and this moment is amazing. He's shooting at the tank with his pistol, which is obviously not going to do anything.
And then all of a sudden the tank explodes. That moment was incredible, man. And it's because I have different feelings about this moment. I'm with the movie up into this moment, basically. All right. You didn't like the P 59 Mustang showing up and saving the day.
What's your problem with it? I mean, I know that this is based on history and like this happened. Basically, this the aircraft shows up and wipes out the tanks and pushes back the Germans and everything. But in the context of the movie, it definitely feels like a day X machina of like, oh, we're almost wiped out. We're about to be all killed. And then, oh, you know, here comes the Eagles, you know, from Lord of the Rings. So it felt a little bit like that to me, which is kind of like a little it cheapened the victory a little bit or not even really a victory, because everybody dies except for two people. And they just happened to be saved by the aircraft.
Him shooting the tank with the pistol. Like, obviously, I'd seen this before and like, I knew what was going to happen. But even having not seen it before, there was almost like a predictability about that of like where I was going to go. Something about the whole like, wrap up of the scene just kind of bummed me out.
Like, just felt a little cheap, little forced, I guess. So the whole point of what they're doing there is they're trying to hold the Germans off until reinforcements arrive. They're expecting reinforcements, even to the point that whenever Miller shows up, they're like, oh, we thought you were going to be the reinforcements we are expecting.
They do manage to hold that for a long time. But I don't think there's a lot of sentimentality there, because everybody dies. I mean, all but three people from the original unit die.
I don't even know if anyone of Ryan's unit besides himself lives. So to me, it felt timely in the theater watching as a 16 year old, I was not expecting that tank to explode. I didn't know what was going to happen, but I didn't think that. So I think that it's set up. I think that the battle was just so brutal, it pushes the idea of them being reinforced like out of your mind completely.
And then it happens or it was out of my mind. So I'm going to disagree with you violently and how dare you slander Lord of the Rings. I cannot believe this. We're done. That's a classic Bayek's mocking example there.
How could I not? But yeah, I think for me anytime, and especially like in a battle movie where it's just like, oh, we're about to be defeated, the enemy has the upper hand like, oh, here comes the Calvary. Here comes the reinforcements. There's something about that to me like this just never sits well or just like, I'd rather see out of all the ingenuity that we've seen from these characters and like their bravery and everything. I mean, honestly, I'd rather them just like gotten to the bridge and like blown up the bridge with the tank on it and been able to like win quote unquote in that way. Yeah, just the whole like, here comes the reinforcements doesn't really do much for the heroism that we've witnessed so far for these characters.
But I mean, I understand that's also like a different takeaway that the film is trying to give us here. She's like, yeah, everybody is dead in this hopeless situation. But then like, I don't know, it almost feels cheap because of like, we're almost all dead and then but we still need a victory for this mainstream American movie.
It almost feel more true if it was just like, yeah, everybody died. The first thing I have to say is I have to condemn myself here. I'm sorry to all the gearheads. I am one of you I read so many technical books on War War two aircraft. I believe I said p 59 Mustang earlier. I'm sorry, I meant to say p 51. If you turned off the episode, you're not here and we say that in anger.
So p 51 must I'm sure people are turning off this episode because of that historical accuracy. How dare you, sir? How dare you get the numbers wrong?
Get your facts straight, Nick. It wasn't the 45 minute philosophical dialogue about a Kantian. Yeah, it doesn't bother me at all, man. I think the whole movie is is so bleak that if they hadn't mentioned any hope of reinforcements, it would have bothered me. But the battle does take up a lot of time. I feel like they earn those reinforcements.
It didn't feel like a deus X might gonna meet at all. P 51 bus tanks, they bust this tank. I guess it's the as the tank is about to roll over Tom Hanks and he's shooting the pistol. It's like, it just so happens, coincidentally enough that the aircraft flies over and bombs that tank before he gets killed.
Or I mean, and he dies eventually anyway. But I don't know, there's just something too convenient, I guess, about that for me. And I'm just like, I don't like that. Well, a it looks really cool. It does look cool.
Give me that. It's not like it saves Hanks his life. He's still bleeds to death a couple minutes after this. Yeah. I think it's a fitting grace note for everything that happened that there's rescued in that way, even to the point that was it Miller says to Ryan that the P 51s are angels on their shoulders. Right. Day X Machina. There you go. It's right there in the text. All right. Okay, Jordan.
So we both have expressed how we feel there. Are we going to talk about Tom Hanks is dead saying I'm sure what he says to Ryan, because I have another issue here. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. What's your issue?
What's your issue? I don't know if it's the performance or the writing itself, the sentimentality, you know, him pulling Ryan close to his chest as he dies and earn it, earn it. He says earn this, earn this. I was like, yeah, it's a little too earnest for me. You cynical bastard.
I don't have such a cynical bastard. I'm the nihilist in this episode. You are.
Oh, shoot. But it was just too much. It was just too sentimental for me. It was just like, oh, come on, man, you're going to put a button on his death with this whole mission, like earn this.
It just felt too much. Well, for me, I feel like Ryan is the audience surrogate in this case. I feel like Spielberg is showing you what these guys did for you, really, if you want to go into the saving prior Ryan thing of saving one man, now you get into the grander scale of all the World War II veterans. If they hadn't acted heroically, you and I would be either not existing or existing and having this conversation in German and probably not through a podcast. Also, saving private Ryan wouldn't exist. Yeah, we'd probably be named saving Ryan's privates. Right.
It'd be a German Shizer film. Right. No. I feel like this is a statement to the audience. Look, these guys did this. They underwent all this trauma to ensure that there would be future generations of Americans.
You're an American watching this now. Like, don't take this light. You know what?
2023, that's a damn difficult statement. Earn this? Me being in debt to something that someone else did for me? No. Forget that.
I'm going to scroll TikTok for another 15 hours. I feel like that's a much more difficult statement to hear in 2023 for people than it was in 1998. And I love it. The scene after that doesn't bother me where Ryan is crying and asking his wife if he's lived a good life and if he's been a good man with his family in the background. Loved all of it. Loved it. Loved it.
Perfect conclusion. I've been on TikTok too long, Nick. Yeah, yeah.
The 2023 has seeped too far into my boat. You know what? Why don't you go do your damn commie TikTok dances and get out of here? I'm a commie now. Yeah. I'm the villain of this episode, apparently.
Yeah, you are. Now, this movie's perfect to me watching it now. I ranked this as a nine back when I created my letterbox and I regarded it as flawed for reasons that other people said it was flawed. Back when I was 16 and I watched it, I don't agree with those people anymore. I think this is one of the best movies of the 90s. I mentioned in the last episode that Truman Show is the best movie in 1998.
I'm going to recant that. I think Saving Private Ryan is better and I think Truman Show is pretty damn good. So this is, this might rank as number one of everything we've covered so far for me. Wow. Wow. Okay. I mean, obviously, I have a lot of affection for the movie still, even though I find issue with some moments, you know, I agree with the critics.
I'm not going to change my mind there like you, but there's moments that are sentimental that work for me. Like, I mean, I mentioned the Giovanni Robisi monologue and the Hanks monologue, you know, about being the school teacher, like all those things I jive with, they work. I feel like they're well written. They're well performed.
It's just especially the end of the movie, back in the cemetery, this old man, this old Ryan, this old Matt Damon, asking his wife, tell me I'm a good man, tell me I let a good laugh. And, yeah, you are. Yeah, you're a good man. And I'm just like, I don't know, man. It just rubbed me the wrong way. It just felt way too modeling, way too schmaltzy. Just couldn't get into it, kind of ruined the ending for me. But there's so much other great stuff in between the beginning and the end that I'm not going to like hate on this movie at all.
I don't want to be that guy. I'm not trying to, you know, put this movie down overall or anything. I do enjoy it a lot. I think it's incredibly well made. I probably still do like a four out of five.
Gotcha. Yeah, I'm going to go 10 out of 10. I think it's perfect.
I love it. I've realized too I've I know this soundtrack like note for note. I didn't realize how much I'd listen to it till I was revisiting it for this. I can't say I even was like paying attention to the soundtrack or like it registered with me, but that might have been just being so immersed in the movie itself.
It's like, this isn't a movie. I'm there. I'm on the beach. I'm in the countryside.
I'm in the blown up building. That's awesome that you said that because that was Spielberg's aim was he said like he wanted to remove all artifice when you're watching that D-Day scene. Like he wants you to forget watching a movie and feel like you're on the beach.
Any other complaints anyone else has with this film? I don't see how anyone could say you don't feel that way for that part. Right. That might be part of it too, where obviously Spielberg film, it's a commercial film. I feel like you're going to have some level of artifice or sentimentality that he brings to the table. But I think I enjoy when he gets really gritty and he gets realistic. That's when I love Spielberg. And when he kind of like he goes more horrific, you know, he has those kind of horrific tendencies too. It's just like he can just fire on all cylinders.
But then he does have a tendency to get a little schmalzy at times. And that's where like I start to pull back. And not that that's like unneeded here, because I feel like it makes sense for the story that you're telling.
But I don't know, there's just there's just a level he goes to where like I pull back from a little bit and I just like can't get behind. I'm actually glad that you brought that up, because I think we can get to a very quick discussion on Spielberg here. Or I feel like this is his last masterwork. And I've liked some of the movies he did after this. I enjoyed most of my minority report.
Catch me if you can. It's pretty good. I think we both really dug the fablements from last year.
I think that was the best movie he's made in more than a decade. And a long time. Very good.
Yeah, for sure. But I do agree with the tendency more and more through his career toward the sentimentality. I feel like that War of the Worlds movie that he did so much of that is incredible. And then it just dives off a sentimental cliff. Like when his son runs out and is alive at the end of the movie, I almost threw my shoe at the movie screen.
It's like, come on, man. I know you're old and like you have a lot of kids now, but the way that you just presented the rest of this movie, that makes no sense. And he does that in even a minority report, unless you take the ending as like just a vision that he's having or a dream and not reality, it makes no logical sense. I mean, it's something that kind of haunted him for the rest of his career after this. And if you feel like that's what he does in Saving Private Ryan, you can almost argue that it almost starts here in a way as far as how he ends a lot of his films. Yeah, I could see that. I don't find it to be that way, but I do find it to be that way in the films that he made after this. Yeah.
So maybe this is the seed of all that to come. How did he fucking do the BFG? I don't know. It's like, big book giant.
I remember our friend, John, we always talk because it's big friendly giant. I mean, it's a Roa Dahl book. I don't know if there was something we were talking about this movie. Or that book itself. And we're just like, what's BFG stand for?
Big fucking giant. I thought that the first time I saw the title to you, I was like, man, that's kind of risque for a kid's book. And then I thought hard and I was like, ah, friendly. Ah, friendly. Yeah. But man, yeah, his 2010s are rough, man. Ready Player One, that's not the best book ever, but it's a pretty fun book. And the way that it was adapted, I find it hard to believe that he even directed most of that.
I don't think he did. Yeah. Just really dull and I don't like it. Yeah, wasn't a big fan. Hey, while we're on a bummer note, how about a movie connection?
All right. So our last movie was Last Action Hero. So what do you got for connecting Save and Private Ryan?
I'll try to lift this out of the bummer note. Before saving Private Ryan, Spilburn makes so many good movies. Last movie that we did, like you said, it was Last Action Hero. It was directed by John McTiernan. John McTiernan also directed the 13th Warrior the year after this in 1999. That's based on Michael Crichton's Eaters of the Dead. There you go.
The only reason that that ended up becoming a film is because of the success Crichton had six years before that when Steven Spielberg did a 1993 adaptation of his novel Jurassic Park. Oh, come on. You know, it was Congo that really got it green lit. Man, did you see that monkey movie? We need to make more of that Crichton guy stuff. Yeah, it's a good thing that we're covering Jurassic Park next. That's going to be our next movie. Usually we say that for the end, but I'll just spoil that right now since we're talking about it. We're going to finally cover Jurassic Park. We've had a lot of people say, when are you going to cover that?
Well, you can thank Chaz, our fabulous patron, who will also be guesting on that episode. We'll save what the punishment movie is after the Trivia battle. But yeah, Jurassic Park, stick on with the Spielberg for the next episode. Yeah, double Spielberg. Very exciting. Yeah, that'll be an easy movie connection for sure. Right.
So for me, Last Action Hero, I had, you mentioned Minority Report based on Philip K. Dick's story, and we're connecting Spielberg, who made Minority Report to Arnold in Last Action Hero, who was in Total Recall, which was also based on a Philip K. Dick story. Boom. There you go. Very nice.
Very nice. Oh, I feel like we should at least save the cinematographer for saving Private Ryan's name. I actually don't like a lot of his work with Spielberg after this, especially in Indie 4, which I would like to pretend doesn't exist. So that means the fifth one can't exist either, because they didn't even make a fourth one. But his cinematography on that is more akin to what he did in Saving Private Ryan with like the sky not being there and stuff.
Doesn't work. But man, Kaminsky, the cinematographer for Saving Private Ryan, brilliant job. Got to mention his name. He did great for this film. He was perfect for it. Looks good. Now it's time for our trivia battle.
Speaker 2: Pop quiz. Hot shot.
Speaker 1: Or we'd basically just having a useless battle to determine which movie I'll be watching. Maybe. My thought this time was, Jordan's not going to watch the punishment anyway. Why don't I ask him questions he'll actually get right. So at least like I won't do him the indignity of beating him into the ground and then watching his punishment for him.
Basically, he's Private Ryan and I'm saving him every episode. Hey, you know what? Now quit that, because this is just goes along with the nihilism of this episode.
This trivia battle is beating. If I indeed don't watch the punishment, if I do lose, which, you know. It's Chaz's pick and I don't feel like you're going to want to watch it. And I haven't seen it in years.
I would actually watch it again just to see if it's the way that I remembered it. We'll get to the punishment after the battle. Jordan, my questions are all based on the career of Jeremy Davies. But dude, you got to get these right. You got to win this trivia battle. You got to get these. I'm begging you. I mean, if you let me Google it, maybe.
Speaker 2: No, you should know these. You should know these. Okay. We'll see. All right. So all my questions, this is coming again from the movie quiz book that I've been using. Oscar oddities, award-winning surprises, as we noted in our last episode. Shakespeare in love beating out, saving Private Ryan for the best picture when obviously a surprise there.
Yeah. Obviously, a surprise involving Harvey Weinstein paying a lot of money to make sure Shakespeare in love won the Oscars. That's why I quit watching them way back in the spring of 1999 when that happened. You know the word I was looking for for Edward Burns earlier when you helped me out and said, Jaded, I was looking for the word disillusioned. Honestly, that's when I became disillusioned a bit with Hollywood. I was done with frickin' Weinstein back then before I knew he was raping people.
I already hated the dude. Saving Private Ryan should have won best picture, man. Shakespeare in love, I mean, it's an okay romantic comedy. Like, it's a fun little movie. It's not the best picture of the year, man. You were like Tom Hanks when he heard that the Statue of Liberty was complete. You were like, Disconcerting.
Speaker 1: There's a lot of comedy in Saving Private Ryan. We didn't mention it. There are a lot of little funny moments, man. Even the part with Nathan Fillion thinking his brothers are dead is played in a comedic way. It's like pretty funny. Yeah, it is kind of funny. All right.
But yeah, anyway, jumping off of that travesty at the Oscars, here's some other surprises, I suppose. Oh, go ahead and ask me one of those. Go ahead.
All right. Probably easiest question here. What 1969 film became the first X-rated title to win the Oscar for best picture? Midnight Cowboy. Yeah, yeah, you got it.
I was like, do you need the answers? It's a pretty good movie. Yeah, I like it. All right. But Jordan, you got to get this one right because we've covered this movie before. All right.
You should be able to get it without the choices. Who directed Jeremy Davies in 1999's Ravanus? Was it A. Catherine Bigelow, B. Antonia Byrd, C. Francesca DeGarmo, or D. Nicole Kidman? Antonia Byrd. Yes. Brilliant director.
Only made five films. I love them all. Yeah, good stuff.
Wish she was still with us. Good job from Ravanus. Go watch that if you haven't seen it. And then listen to our episode.
Yeah, with Wes from Real Talk. A lot of fun. A lot of fun talking about cannibalism. All right, let's see.
Let's see. Grace Kelly won her only Oscar in 1954. But when the film she won it for was released on VHS in Canada in the 1980s, it was slapped with an adults only rating after Sensors Miss took it for a pornographic film of the same name. What title caused all the ruckus? Was it A. A tight spot, B. interrupted melody, C. young at heart, or D. The country girl?
It was The Country Girl. You got it. Good job. Good film. Good film.
I haven't seen that one. I think I've seen every Grace Kelly film. I mean, she's wonderful. Yeah, I had a big thing for her back in the day. I used to have a poster of her on my wall, actually. She's good in that movie.
Bing Crosby, really good in that movie. He probably should have won an award too. I know the guy's probably an asshole in real life, but he's really good. He plays an alcoholic. It's worth watching.
If you like movies from the 50s with Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly in them. All right, Jordan, I need to miss a question, and you need to keep getting these right. So next question. Jeremy Davies played Brian Lawrence in this 1996 disaster film. Was it A.
Independence Day, B. Twister, C. Geo Storm, or D. Deep Impact? Yeah, there you go, Jordan. There you go, buddy. Right.
All right, let's see. What is the lowest budgeted film allowing for inflation ever to have won Best Picture? Was it A.
Room, B. Rocky, C. Whiplash, or D. Moonlight? Moonlight seems like it had a really small budget.
I'll just say Rocky. It was Moonlight. There you go. I missed one, Jordan. I missed one. That means you win. Oh, snap. Did you know it was Moonlight? You just guessed Rocky instead.
Speaker 2: Oh, of course not, Jordan. Of course I didn't know that. Sure. Of course, hey, let's move along. Let's do this other question just for fun for you. All right. Forget about that. What is Jeremy Davies last name at birth? This is just for fun. Is it A. Davies, B. Boring, C. Lather, D. Davidovich? I have no idea.
Was it Davidovich? Oh, it's Boring. His name was Jeremy Boring.
Jeremy Boring. That wouldn't be a great stage name. His dad was an author with that name. Yeah, he decided to go with his mom's last name instead. Get your choice. All right. Well, Jordan. Oh, man, I lost. Gosh, that stinks. Gosh darn it.
Speaker 1: Chaz picked the punishment. You know, we're watching Jurassic Park, which is a movie about dinosaurs. And Michael Crichton actually wrote a sequel. It was called The Lost World. But that wasn't the first book called The Lost World. There's another book by Arthur Conan Dile. Let's say that again by Arthur Conan Doyle. Doyle? You know, I've read every Sherlock Holmes story.
I can't pronounce the guy's name. But there's a 1992 adaptation of The Lost World that starts John Rhys Davies and Eric McCormack. I haven't seen it since I was like 12. But I'm going to watch that at Chaz's request for the punishment. It should pair up well with Jurassic Park.
I might come in with my my hater take, like save in private, right? Just keep the Spielberg hate going. Dude, the Jurassic Park movie. Like, why does anybody love this?
This dinosaurs are fake, man. I haven't seen it in six years. I can't imagine not liking the movie overall. I will say, back in the day, I saw the movie in the theater and it blew my mind. But then I read the book and watched it again. And I was like, oh, man, you know, me with books.
So like, they didn't have every single thing that was in the book. It sucks. It sucks. The movie sucks. I don't think I'm going to think that now.
No, I don't think so. I mean, it's pretty hard to not love it. It's great. I mean, a friend of mine just shared with me something on Instagram, a scene from where Jeff Goldblum is talking to the guy who runs the park. And I just watching that again, I was like, I love Jeff Goldblum. He's like, he's a treasure.
And then, you know, him like slamming his fist on the table. I don't know. How can you not love the movie?
And especially Jeff Goldblum, like with his shirt unbuttoned and sexy, man. Anyway, talking chaos theory. That's right. Oh, dude, I can get into more philosophy easily.
There you go. Chaos theory. That's right.
Isn't nihilism just chaos theory itself? All right. Awesome. Well, thank you guys for listening.
Hope you enjoyed. If you want to reach out to us, you can find us on Twitter at 90smoviespod. Our email is filmshakepodcast.com. If you want to support us on Patreon, you can go to patreon.com .com. So love you guys. Thank you for all your support. We'll catch you next time for more film shake. Take it easy.
Speaker 2: But in the context of the movie, it definitely feels like a dex machina.