Arthouse Garage Podcast

Podcast Transcript for Episode 37: Dick Johnson is Dead and Oscars 2021 Discussion

Read the Podcast Transcript for Episode 37: Dick Johnson is Dead and Oscars 2021 Discussion

Read the transcript below:

Hey guys, thanks so much for listening to this episode of art house garage. Before the episode starts, I wanted to give a trigger warning, just because the movie that we talked about is about death. And we talk about death quite a bit, just kind of exploring the idea of death and how it affects people. And then we end up talking about some stories of people dying like true stories, some of which are a little bit violent, so I wanted to give a heads up. If that sounds too heavy for you, this may not be the episode for you. Just know that going into it. I do think it’s a great episode. It’s a really great movie. So enjoy. Thanks.

Hello, hello, and welcome to season six of our house garage, the snob free film podcast where we make art house indie classic and foreign cinema accessible to the masses. I am your host, Andrew swetland. And for season six, we are shifting our focus to modern times. So season three, we looked at a classic film Starter Pack season four arthouse film starter pack. And season five, we looked at contemporary Asian filmmakers. But for season six, we are looking at 2020 we’re looking at the best films of 2020. Despite how unusual this year has been, there have been some really good movies out, including today’s film, Dick Johnson is dead, which is a very creative documentary, which we’re going to get into. But before we do that, let’s talk a little bit about 2020. And specifically award season. So what I did in the podcast last year, about this time, was talk about several of the big name movies from award season 2019. In the lead up to the 2019 Oscars, that worked pretty well. But I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do that this year with the way 2020 has disrupted the film industry. But when I took a look at it, I realized there’s actually a lot of great stuff this year. And it’s actually easier for most people to watch them because almost all of them are streaming. So we’ve got some great episodes ahead. I’m excited to dig into a lot of great movies from this year. Some are from earlier in the year. Some are not out yet, but we’ll be streaming very soon. So stay tuned. There’s going to be a lot of really good stuff. I’m excited. Another interesting thing about season six is that I’m going to have a lot of different guests. So you can look forward to that. For this episode, though. I’ve got a familiar voice back. And that is my friend and fellow film podcaster. Oh, Maya Jones. Oh, Maya, how are you? I’m doing well. Considering what the past few days have been like? Yes, we are recording this. They have not called the president See, race yet is the third night of counting votes and all of that. So we’re anxiously awaiting all of that. By the time this airs Monday. Maybe there will be an answer, hopefully by then. So anyway, yeah, it’s kind of a stressful time to be recording a podcast, but here we are. So we are going to discuss the film, Dick Johnson is dead. But just before we do, let’s talk about the 2020 award season, and how it looks a bit different than previous years. So obviously, the Coronavirus has caused lots of big, big movies to be pushed back. And it’s kind of ravaged the movie industry, especially movie theaters, many of which are in a lot of danger of like closing permanently. So it’s really not a great situation. But it’s also changed award season in some kind of interesting ways. For one thing, the Oscars have been pushed back to April. Generally speaking, the Oscars basically marks the end of award season each year, sort of the final award show, but for better or for worse. That’s kind of the marker of you know, the end of the movie year. So as we get into this, oh, my I’m curious. First, what are your kind of general feelings about the Oscars? Do you watch them every year? Do you put a lot of stock into them? How do you feel about the Oscars?

So historically, I’m not really an Oscar watcher the last few years I would say that I have watched them more. Starting with I think a few years ago when there was the mix up between moonlight and lala land. Yeah, like I remember I was doing something that night and then got on Twitter. I think it was probably watching a movie then I got on Twitter afterwards and saw that people there were some commotion about something and so I really quickly found like a video feed. That was that was online. It just got to see

that that happened. And then I think Yeah, so I watched I think I watched the past couple years. The year that Green Book One because I remember seeing Spike Lee getting upset about that right and trying to leave the auditorium but he wasn’t able to because they were the doors were closed. And then the year after that one parasite one, I think I ended up watching most of that. Not broadcast, but historically, I don’t really watch the Oscars. I think they’ve, you know, they sort of have this reputation for awarding a lot of films that weren’t very good

and, you know, going back

To the year that

spike lee lost for black Klansmen and Green Book One. You know, I think it was the same year that Driving Miss Daisy one that do the right thing. Didn’t I was Yeah, right. He didn’t that didn’t get. I think that’s right picture which, which, you know, in retrospect, certainly one of those films is held up a lot better than the other. And so I think that the Oscars are just not

a good representation of films. That’s not necessarily good representation of films that are going to stand the test of time, culturally, you know,

yeah, yeah, I pretty much agree with all that. I think. I do watch them every year, pretty much I make a point to do that. And some of that is just the sound of that. Because when I was a kid, and I really liked movies, you know, it was more than my most of my friends, I realize I’m really into movies. This was like, the thing movie fans did. This is all I knew. It’s like, my parents loved me watch the Oscars, and we watch them together as a family. And

so there’s so there’s that that aspect of it. Also, just like seeing the celebrities, like I kind of get into that, which is, you know, shallow of me, maybe, but I enjoy it. And

But yeah, I think as I became more, I don’t know, film educated and not that I’m that educated in film. But as I kind of got more into it and got more serious about paying attention to less mainstream things, I realized that the Oscars you know, on paper, the best movies of the year, but really rarely is that actually that, but like that’s for me realizing that was a big deal into like, feeling like, I could open my eyes to more more diverse films, which is more more films, besides the the stuff that was getting recognition, realize there’s a lot of stuff under the radar, that’s really good, that doesn’t get that recognition. So there’s that I so I take them with a big grain of salt, basically, I really enjoy watching them. But I, I yeah, I don’t take them as

more significant than they are. But I do think that they have some cultural significance. I think rantes actually, on a previous episode of this podcast, put it well, he was talking about like significance of pericyte winning last year, I mean, the first Foreign Language Film to win. And just the way, like, you know, when people look at a list of Oscar winning films, that’s going to be there forever, you know, and so what’s, that’s a big deal.

But yeah, like, You’re, you’re saying, Look at the previous year Green Book, which, you know, a lot of critics and film goers had just had a lot of issues with that. I agree with that. It just handles racial issues very,

without any nuance or complexity. And you know, we should be better than that in 2018 is when this came out, and, and it goes on to win. But there’s also been a lot of interesting discourse around kind of old Hollywood, New Hollywood, and you can see that influence on the Oscars, like we have moonlight winning, which feels pretty progressive, and it feels like, you know, this great arthouse movie one, and then we go back to Green Book, and you see kind of the old Hollywood influence. And then with parasite that’s, again, feels maybe like a step in the right direction. But anyway, all that to say, I pay attention to them, I do enjoy them. But yeah, big grain of salt with, with how important they actually are, but

there’s all that. So looking forward to 2020. It’s interesting, we should explain also, that this year, the rules for qualification have changed. So the deal on that, to my understanding is typically, and I think they’ve recently in the last few years have adjusted this as well. But basically, a movie has to have a theatrical run of a certain length

to qualify for the Oscars. And so then you’d see like Netflix, putting their movie in the theater just long enough to qualify, because they want to be streaming everything.

But this year, because of the pandemic, and theaters closing, they the way they have

kind of made a concession for that is movies that we’re planning to have a theatrical run are eligible. So if it was always going to be direct to streaming, it’s not eligible. So Netflix can’t just put everything on the ballots. But you know, the kind of the bigger picture is that they were planning to have a theatrical run and go that way. I don’t know how they’re proving that. But that’s kind of the rule. So that means like, the kind of the first big one that made a lot of money without going to the theater was trolls World Tour. And that one is eligible, because you know, it was planning to have this big theater run. So it will be eligible for an animated feature. So that’s kind of the way that’s working this year. And again, there is the postponed it. So if the Oscars are the end of the movie year, that’s kind of been extended. So that means this is actually going to be a pretty long season of the podcast because we’re going to keep going until then with with kind of watching newer stuff. So

yeah, so there’s all that as well. So Omaya, as we were talking about this, you brought up the idea that this could have some kind of interesting effects on

Just moving over moviegoers in general. So tell me about that.

Yeah, so they extended the eligibility time to like February 28? I think. So, if as long as your movie is out by then and that was originally intended to have a theatrical release, you will be eligible for the Oscars. So there are still a lot of big pictures that have not been released and won’t be released by then. Like, I think the new James Bond was pushed back past that date, if I’m not mistaken. And like that, you know, I wouldn’t say that, like the next James Bond film would be eligible for like Best Picture, but it might be up for like some technical awards. Sure, yeah. There are a lot of releases that,

like Netflix has been trying to get an Academy Award for years now. And you know, they’ve got a bunch of films that they’re going to release on their platform that they would have had at least a token release for more as other studios might be like, other studios might be delaying their releases, indefinitely. So like Steven Spielberg, one side story, I’m not sure what the release date is for that now, but they moved that off of December. And there are a couple other notable films like Dune, that is another one that would be up probably for some technical awards as getting pushed back. So

I think the first time this came up, was when the pandemic first started, I started seeing people chatting on Twitter, about films like never rarely, sometimes always. And the potential for that to get some sort of Academy recognition. And it were in a previous year at one or like, first cow or something, right. Yeah. And, and so hopefully, it really does open it up for films that previously would never get considered for an Academy Award, to have some sort of recognition on that stage. Even going back to like last year, you saw like, there’s this difference between like,

I don’t think it happens every year. But last year, there’s this real difference between like, the Oscars and like the Independent Spirit Awards. And and so I was like, oh, something like uncut gems have been pushed back to like, just January 2020 release or something. Well, that would be like Oscar contention now.

Or even something like neon who did parasite and they had two films come out last year that were critically acclaimed. The other one was portrait of a lady on fire, but they decided to concentrate their Oscar campaign on parasite. And so portrait of a lady on fire, got a release in some theaters in December, but kind of went nationwide, just before the epidemic, and I think February 14, was the date for that to go to theaters across the country.

But you know, now I think like, oh, if they had, obviously, no one knew when the pandemic was coming, but had they just not released it at all. In 2019? Would it have been eligible for an Academy Award in 2020? I could be completely wrong. I don’t know exactly how like that, like the production schedule, how it has to fit, you know? Yeah, that’s it’s really interesting. And I think yet the point about is smaller stuff going to have more of a change this year that think that’s really interesting. And it’ll be interesting to see what happens. I’ll be watching the nominations this year, very closely, whenever that happens.

We and you, you kind of noted to when we were talking about like, just sort of a divide between, you know, quote, unquote, film people who are sore, sort of, I guess, people that are not that into movies and and begin like, the way I was until a few years ago, like, the Oscars is kind of all I knew as far as like, here’s what’s happening in Hollywood.

So looking at that, and wondering, is it going to be canceled? Is it going to be different, maybe those people will be able to pay attention to some of these smaller things to maybe it’ll push that in a way that could be good for smaller, smaller movies. And you know, looking at last year, we had the whole Scorsese MCU controversy, which we don’t have to get into. But, you know, part of the problem there was like, these huge box office, things are just clobbering everything else, and nothing else has a chance to get any attention.

MCU stuff has been pushed back because they can’t make their money back. Right? Without big theatre sales. So again, the smaller stuff is having a little bit more of a chance. So anyway, I think, obviously, pandemic has been terrible for so many reasons. But there are some interesting things happening

in just in in a lot of areas, especially in the movie industry, as we kind of look at what’s happening with the worst season. Yeah, so I think it is interesting, you know, hopefully, the smaller movies will have more of an audience. And that’s a lot of the stuff that I’m planning to cover on the podcast this season. So a lot of stuff that streaming, again, some stuff from earlier in the year. Some of which I’ve seen, actually the what was the last movie you saw in the theater before the pandemic? I’m curious, am I

Oh, it was Welcome to check Nia, a true us. Wow. Okay. Yeah, um, I haven’t watched that yet. But that’s on my list.

have things to offer Actually, I just found a guest to talk about that one. So I’m excited. That one is a plan. I haven’t watched it yet, but it’s it’s also streaming now. My last movie in the theater was

the Invisible Man with Elisabeth moss, which I really liked, actually, as far as kind of horror movies goes. And you know, that’s another thing that the Oscars kind of notoriously stay away from genre stuff like a lot of horrors and comedies don’t ever get any attention that could maybe change this year.

I don’t know that I would put an invisible man up for anything. But I mean, maybe I could see it. Certainly Best Actress. Yeah. Yeah. She’s really good. She’s fantastic. Trying to think like one other actresses this year? I don’t know. I’d have to. Again, there’s a lot of stuff I haven’t watched yet that I’m planning to in the next few months. We’ll have to see. But yeah, I could definitely see Elizabeth moss, getting some Oscar attention for that. And there’s buzz around her smell a few years ago.

Which that’s the title of a film if you’re unaware. That’s a weird sounding sentence if you don’t know that the movie is called her smell.

But yes. All right. Well, I think then kind of wrap it up. So So one of these

Netflix movies that is streaming now that you can go watch and that we’re about to discuss is called dick Johnson is dead. It is a documentary. It is a very unique documentary. It kind of plays with the form

from director kearson Johnson and her previous film camera person was one of my favorites that year. We’ll get into a little bit of that, I’m sure. Yeah. All right. Without further ado, let’s talk about dick Johnson is dead.

Just the idea that I might ever lose this man.

is too much to bear.

Is my dad. Let’s start walking to start walking through me. That’s fantastic.

I suggested we make a movie about him dying. He said yes.

she kills me multiple times.

resurrected dad. Yeah.

Now it’s upon us, the beginning of his disappearance. The thing I hate most about my memory loss is that it hurts people’s feelings. Pineda. You woke up in the middle of the night last night? You have fully dressed to remember any of that. Yeah, yeah. What can we do about that?

I don’t know. Everybody has to sort of prepare, because everybody dies. I love life too much for that.

Alright, let’s talk about dick Johnson is dead. So this is a documentary, kind of playful documentary plays with the form quite a bit. And we’ll talk about that from director Kirsten Johnson. Kirsten Johnson, I think is how it’s pronounced. She had her kind of breakout in 2016 with a film called camera person. So she is a camera person has been for many years, worked on many documentaries. And the film camera person is sort of a personal memoir, using footage from lots of different things. And it kind of ties it into this really unique blend. That’s that’s really emotionally moving. And I really, really loved it. in that film, she kind of stays behind the camera. For most of it. There’s actually a moment when you suddenly see her for the first time. It’s kind of kind of like, well, breathtaking. It kind of breaks the rules that have been established. And

so that’s an interesting thing about that film. And this one, she’s an integral part of the story. So she in this film, is reflecting on the imminent death of her father, Dick Johnson. He is aging is her her mother’s passed away.

And she basically she explains that she said to her father, hey, what if we made a movie about you dying, and we faked her death by a bunch of ways. And apparently he loved that idea, which is so interesting.

But it’s so it’s an incredibly personal story. It does it features

fake death scenes repeatedly with him. And then it follows his actual story is his mental health kind of degrades, with with Alzheimer’s. And so it’s really heavy and in a lot of ways to it’s also very funny, and it’s, it really is unique in that, yes, some of this is is just documenting what’s happening. Some of it is clearly scripted and meant to be. It’s not like it’s trying to sneak at bias that it’s scripted. It’s it’s there’s kind of fantastical sequences within it. It’s incredibly personal. It also clearly wants to have sort of a greater resonance, kind of reflect on the very idea of dying and death. And it clearly she wants it to resonate kind of personally with the viewer. So my question for you is did this resonate personally with you? Absolutely. So I got to see this at a festival called true false in March of this year, and it was one of the last things that I got to do. Before everything like all the festivals were shut down for code.

It wasn’t it was an am screening. So there was one of those screenings progressing in line, scrolling on my phone waiting for that to get into the film, and South by Southwest, and so they were canceling the festival.

And it was also true because kitchen Johnson was there, she was there with the film. And she also had it in the audience, a family friend, friend of her parents.

And it was neat to see this film that is so much about evoking memory, and

perspective. And then like when,

when her family friend spoke, she talked about, just like how she was taken back by the view of the Seattle house, right where her dad lived before she moved to New York, and how like, she remembered it being built, and like having parties there and things like that. And I will tell you like there are lots of tears in the audience at various points of this film, because it is a very emotional

journey, you know.

And I just, I just I loved it, when I saw it, and I thought that it was gonna be maybe one of the best films of the year. Right out of the gate. Yeah, I agree with all that. I think this is incredibly moving. I yeah, I cried and cried at the end. Yeah, it’s very emotional. It’s especially the ending, it’s so there’s like a

funeral scene. That is, yeah, it in the way that this plays with a form of documentary, it also plays with the idea of death, and the idea of even a funeral that gets like a staged funeral. But it’s so incredibly moving.

That, yeah, I was really impressed by it. And it’s and again, it’s so unique. It’s not a straight documentary, as I said, like, there’s several things that are meant to be kind of artificial. There’s like a heaven sequence that we see at one point, and then it kind of comes back again, and again, that’s very funny. Like this, this film

is incredibly funny. It did make me reflect on my own mortality and the mortality of people I know, but also in a way that Yeah, I’m laughing, I’m emotional. It’s, it’s very life affirming, and like humanistic, I think it’s a really positive film. And I, it’s really quite an experience to watch. One of my favorite, so we can talk about some of those artificial touches. One of my favorite things, there were the subtitles throughout the movie that are like built in to real things. For instance, the title of a book that’s like something long and ridiculous, clearly not a real book. It said, I can’t recall exactly what it said. But it was like, filling in a gap of telling part of here’s what’s happening next to the story. And it’s so funny, too, because in that scene, I think one thing she does really well. I mean, obviously, she has a ton of experience, just filming people and capturing human things on camera. And when we see that book title, we hear someone’s voice, who, who sees it, and it’s like this, did we have this book or like some sort of little sound of surprise that you can tell like this really is a real book that she had created for this film. And also, she’s capturing some funny little human moment of surprise about what has this weird little book, within there’s like another one where it’s skywriting or not skywriting. But like a plane carrying one of those long banners that you see like the beach and stuff, explaining the next the next point of the film.

So it’s really creative. And really,

yeah, just really a unique, unique thing.

So on that kind of humanistic idea, she clearly sees

beauty just in people and humanity. And that’s really evident in camera person. And again, probably a result of her just years of observing people. But there’s a moment in this one, she’s,

she and her father are talking to a man about his mother’s death, so that it kind of just talks about the idea of death. And so you see the talking to this person and his like, his mother drowned. He tells about that, and how that affected him. And they have this like, meaningful and beautiful conversation. Also, like just very friendly and kind of warm. And then he gets up and it turns out that he’s like a mover, like, he just came there to pick up the office. And she clearly stopped him and was like, let’s make you part of this. Which is so fascinating. It I think just really speaks to her.

Just her her perspective on the dignity and importance of every person. Like this movie shows up, let’s let’s talk to him about what is that to you and your parents steps and that kind of thing. See, I just really love that aspect of it. Yeah, I think that’s a trait that they both share with Julie like, that seemed like I can imagine how, you know, maybe he just came for a pre scheduled appointment to like take a look at the space and see how he’s gonna move it and then they start talking

too. And you know, her father was a therapist before he had to retire. Yeah.

And, like, so he seems to be very well versed in this.

And then also like going back to the funeral scene, like you can clearly see in this fake stage funeral, that

he just the impact that he’s had on people, you know, his friends who are very emotional, his son, Chris Johnson’s brother

is quote, like having a hard time with the whole idea.

But even like, so like, don’t just talk about just like the back and forth, or like the collaborative nature of filmmaking and how that sort of what she’s really into. And so she talked about

filming that scene, the funeral, there’s a, there’s a scene in the funeral our shot, where her father is like walking down the aisle, during this whole thing and how like, she has the camera, and she’s shooting something. And then hers photographer, the person who’s shooting with her, comes over and takes the camera from her to shoot to like, get that shot, that is the sort of iconic shot of the film.

And she just talked about just like having this trust in people, you know.

And then just listen to her talk to people like Q and A’s and things. Like she’s just very interested in like making these connections with people.

And trying to, like, get out people’s stories and like, really get to know them as people. Yeah, yeah. And, and that that follows to so there’s this place, the hotsprings Documentary Film Festival, and I know you were live at the q&a. And I was able to watch the replay of it, that she did, it was like a zoom q&a. And it was really a remarkable thing. And so that’s one of the things she talked about was like the back and forth

between between people. And that’s like the most interesting way to make a film, which isn’t something I ever think about, you know, with filmmaking, I think that’s interesting. She also talked about about, well, first of all, it’s like no q&a I’ve ever seen, because she started out by by asking participants, how do you want to die.

So like just coming out the gate with that, and kind of putting people on the spot. But that led to such an interesting conversation.

And she was also just so affirming of everyone that that kind of chimed in to ask questions and things. And, and it was really, like, you can see how this can be an incredibly therapeutic experience for her making it but then she wants to bring people in on that. And, like, I feel like that q&a was therapeutic for her. And for everyone that watches it. Like, even if I wasn’t there live, like, it’s such a thing that it’s making you reflect in your own life to that. Yeah, just really, really powerful. And I was really impressed by it. Another thing she talked about in that QA is

the way that film,

I guess, art in general, but film specifically,

the way it stands is sort of a historical document. And she talked about like, you know, future generations can watch this and can experience what dick Johnson was like as a person.

And it’s sort of reaching forward through history, kind of having a, I guess, a time, time jump back and forth kind of thing. And then she talked about, you know, people being inspired by films from years and years ago. And how powerful that is, I just think that’s a really fascinating kind of layer to this as well.

That in a way she’s trying to cheat death, sort of, by like saying, here’s, here’s Dave Johnson, he’s going to live forever in this movie. And

yeah, it just it sort of, and it has sort of an irreverence to work with those silly heaven scenes, which are, again, silly and funny, but also really moving and in such a strange way. But anyway, yeah, I just really was impressed with this. Yeah, well, so is the idea that like, there’s this document

that her children will have of their grandfather. But another since there’s also this, they’ll have this document of her right, because, you know, my camera person, she’s very much, you know, on screen a lot in this and she’s talking about how

one of the things she realized when her mom died, and I guess in the making of camera person, is that there’s the scene of like the footage of her mother’s like all she has, like, she didn’t spend a lot of time filming her. And so this project, like once she started to notice that her dad was also having these bouts of dementia. And it was getting progressively worse. It became this thing, which is like, we got it. We got a document. Um, you know, we’ve got to get him get him on camera.

I can’t remember if it’s in the fresh air interview, or if it was in the q&a, but she just talked about how, at one point during the filming, she was worried that they started too late. And then when they were in the editing Bay, she realized like no, we got him like we got him on camera we’ve got Yeah, well, yeah. And speaking to that a little bit like the I can just kind of a life affirming nature of this. There’s a great

Quote from Dave Johnson and this and I’m trying to remember exactly what the setup for it is.

Something about

it talk about euthanasia a little bit and kind of when when you would want to pull the plug. And there’s a funny joke, actually, where he says something like, yeah, you can you can pull the plug if it gets to a certain point. And

she’s like, Are you sure? And he says, Yeah, just just check with me first, I ruin the joke. But he says something like, if the joke is that he’s not able to communicate, but he says, check with me first. And it’s just really funny. And he’s like, I really kind of old man sense of humor. But then at some point, too, he says, the line.

I love life too much for that about something about, you know, leaving the world earlier than planned. and stuff. That was a nice little quotable quote there about just kind of enjoying life. And I think that speaks to, like, even his willingness to do this. I saw she said in the q&a that he was on board pretty quickly, which was surprising to me, just because I think a lot of fathers wouldn’t want this to happen. That’s a really vulnerable thing that she’s putting on film. But and I wonder if that has something to do with his his career as a psychiatrist, and

just his kind of appreciation for I don’t know, the human condition or something that he was willing to, to do this really odd film about his his own life and mental state. But yeah, well, I think she does a really good job of there’s this fine line, because, you know, he does have to mention any.

And he’s sort of losing his memory. And he may not always be there, but she has to, like walk this fine line between,

you know, knowing that he’s a willing participant,

and try not to be exploitive. Right? So there’s a scene in the film, where with one of the deaths involves a lot of fake blood. And yeah, it becomes clear that he’s uncomfortable. And so they very quickly had to, like, you know, end it or, like, get out of that situation. And, and I think that’s probably also like the point at which she, she starts to feel like, okay, maybe like, we have to start wrapping up this film.

That again, it’s hard to say, because of the way editing works.

One of the things she’s talked about is just trying to, like, show on film a linear progression of the disease, and how you can really do that editing. Right? So

you, you can just, yeah, I guess it’s by cheat, like, by choosing the sequence that you order the scenes, you can sort of create this narrative of the of the progression of the disease that doesn’t necessarily Mirror mirror. What actually happened? Yeah, yeah, that’s really interesting.

There’s also an interesting kind of religious aspect to this, she talks about growing up as a Seventh Day Adventist. And first of all, like, she said, like that meant, like, no alcohol, no dancing, no movies, like really strict. But then her dad took her to see Young Frankenstein when she was 11. So like flouting the rules, and then that helped her kind of the fall in love with the movies.

And then he also had some, she quoted me saying,

he liked to live in the moment, I’ve got my heaven right here on Earth, you’d like to say, talking about his family, which again, is just really sweet. But yeah, and then, so the religious aspect of it comes in when she depicts heaven. And so she believes, or the religion she was brought up with, has this belief in the afterlife, and she sort of depicts that in a funny way.

But then, in the q&a, too, she talked about, just with different different ideas about death and, and dying and

sort of the head with the idea of an afterlife at all that different cultures, different religions have different ideas about that. Anyway, there’s a really interesting kind of religious aspect to this film as well. Yeah, um, one of the things I thought was interesting, is she talks about how she was devout, you know, like she, she was a believer.

She said, I don’t have the questions. She’s responding to hear this in an interview. Yeah, this isn’t the fresh air interview, she said, I was devout. It wasn’t just, it wasn’t I just thought of myself as devout. I really believed in God, I believed that God could, that God knew all of my thoughts. And so you this was a real internal struggle. And so like it was it was a it was a thing that was a big part of her life growing up. Yeah, I wondered how much the document would go into that it doesn’t go much more than what I just said. But then, I mean, that one thing comes back again and again. And then like the funerals in a church and it’s a clear religious setting.

Yeah, that’s another interesting kind of kind of layer to this I think. Well, I just think this is quick. It’s funny cuz she like she goes on and she starts talking about how she was questioning how can there be God Jesus in the Holy Spirit, and there’s no women. I’m just like, That’s weird.

This he said in two, I couldn’t believe that we were the chosen people because I hadn’t met many Seventh Day Adventists and I was like, it was an hour.

And I was like, the world’s a big place like, how are there seven, David is the chosen people. So I told my parents, I said, God will know if I’m lying if I get baptized. And they said, they said, you don’t have to get baptized. Wow, that’s fascinating. I love hearing those kind of stories about people’s changing beliefs over time. So I’ve got to look that interview up. Yeah, that’s fascinating. One interesting aspect of it, yeah, is the humor. So as we mentioned, it’s kind of all about death. And it’s, it’s honestly, it’s such an interesting exploration of that, that I like, like if I ever get to teach a class about death in cinema, like, I’ll have like the seventh seal, and I’ll have this, I think this will be part of the curriculum. But the that all the humor in it is so interesting. It reminded me when we talked about the host from Bong Joon Ho, there was a quote there, because something he does so well in that film is kind of blending funny and tragic kind of from moment to moment. And he had a quote about

you know, that’s how life is if someone asked him, How do you write that so well, and he said, You know, that’s how life is, it’s really just kind of comes naturally, because you might be at a funeral, and it’s a really heavy thing, but then something really funny can happen. It’s okay to laugh. And that’s just how humans are. So that, that that literally happens in this because in that funeral scene,

it’s actually really funny, and I won’t spoil the kind of the joke of it. But there’s just a moment that it almost was like, Am I supposed to be laughing at this? It seems funny. It feels like a Reverend to laugh. But then it cuts to her inner data for you’re just really laughing their heads off. Got it, which, like, I think too, there’s something about if you’re on edge emotionally, like because I’m about to cry, because it seems really moving. And then something funny happens. It’s almost a, it almost like amplifies the humor of something. Which actually, I’ve noticed as a parent to like, if my kid is crying, and then I crack a joke. Sometimes it’s like, I wasn’t that funny, but like that really helped turn his mood around. So anyway, maybe that’s just an interesting human trait that we share. But yeah, there’s, it’s blends the tragedy and comedy really, really well, I think, yeah, well, I mean, like, you know, the way the film starts is,

I forget, like, the literal opening. But you know, the title sequence, is when he gets the AC unit dropped on his head. And it’s so like, I remember, like, when I saw that, it was just so shocking, you know, and it almost works like a horror movie. And that then like the rest of the film, you’re just waiting. Like, once you feel Yeah, if you want to do this film, not knowing what it was about. What’s the premise is revealed to you in those opening couple of scenes where they meet with like a stunt man and everything. Just spend the rest of the film you’re just sort of like anticipating the next death.

And excretes is like this weird feeling. But then when it happens, it’s like, almost cathartic. It’s like, yeah, I think this is great releasing of tension.

It is Yeah. And that kind of gets in the way, like horror and comedy work in the same way of like a joke is billing attention and releasing it and like a horrific moment is the same thing. So yeah, she’s kind of playing with that, too.

Yeah, well, it’s a really great movie. And you know, I didn’t I just thought of this. So if you don’t want to do this, we can cut it. But I thought it might be fitting, if we ended our conversation by saying, how would we would like to die? Oh, how would I like to die? I don’t know. Honestly, thought of like, I can go first if you want. But I’ll just say that on the q&a. She when she was asking that I was thinking is like, I really don’t know. But I’ll think about it. While you are you give your answer. Okay. I have a little bit of an answer. I think I show a lot of people in the q&a talked about, like, I want to dye my sleep. So it’s painless, and like different things like that. I think that for me, it would be wanting to be like, not be alone, like someone that I love is with me.

You know, and I’m like old in a hospital bed or something like that. Or at home? Actually, that’s a thing. My wife had a class on death, dying and grieving. And that’s kind of a trend lately is why would you want to die in the sterile, sad hospital when you could be in your home like so people go from hospice care to their homes, when it’s clear that it’s about to be the end? I think that’s kind of cool and kind of beautiful. But

yeah, just being with someone I love, which I realize is like, selfish on one hand, because that means I can’t be there for them when they die. It’s like dying first. But I had a dream one time actually that said, yeah, this q&a really brought a lot up for me. But I had this dream once where

speaking, we talked about loss recently, briefly, but on that show, there’s like moments where like, the world kind of goes white kind of fades into white. When something sort of apocalyptic or something is happening. I had a dream I had been watching loss. I think that’s why but like I said, I was in a crowd. And suddenly the world started to like, go white, like, like, my vision was fading into white. And I was like, This is

The end of the world like this is it this is the end. It was like a really vivid dream. And I was with a friend. And I just had this real strong set. Like he started running away trying to like figure out what was going on. And I was so emotional I was I just was chasing, I was like, This is it, like, just come here and hold my hand like we’re about to die. I don’t want to be alone. So I remembered that suddenly, when she was in this q&a, talking about how we want to die, so I guess that’s my answer is with a person I care about, um, have you considered Titanic style death? That could be I you know, there’s a significant Well, you know, in the in the film, Titanic, there’s an old couple that realizes what’s happening. They just decide to stay in the room and go together. Because they’re holding hands or something.

Yeah, so that’s, that’s, that could be

a way that you could to not selfishly die alone. But I guess if you’re painting, the scenario on your own is still sort of selfish that you would stuff. Yeah, you can’t really plan for that. And if you if you do plan for that, it’s kind of messed up. Yeah. Oh, yeah. I don’t know. I still I don’t know. I know, I don’t want to die, which is similar to your answer, which is I don’t want to die alone. I don’t know if you’re familiar with this film. It’s called dreams of a life. And it’s a sort of documentary with some reenactments about this woman who died in her flat in London, and was not discovered for like over a year.

There was unlike, I guess, for some reason, no one had thought about it.

Our but no one ever came in and out of the apartment, I guess things were on AutoPay or something. And the TV was on. And we she was like surrounded by like, like, it’s like Christmas gifts.

And so it’s just like, really haunting you know, like that. That was kind of affecting me. dreams of a life. I would I would sort of recommend it.


So you don’t want to go I don’t I don’t want to go like that. I would say if I was awake, I would want it to be fast. You know, like, yeah, like, if, if you’re on like a roller coaster or something, and you’re accidentally decapitated? I imagine that’s pretty quick.

Yeah, I don’t want that to happen. But I imagine is fast, which is, you know, yeah, like, and you’re having fun, right until the beer. Yeah, yeah. You know, like, rather, rather I would rather that I well.

Well, there’s one person in the q&a who is like a thrill seeker filmmaker, and so he was kind of his answer was, you know, I want to I very likely could die doing some of these death defying stunts that I do. Yeah, so that was interesting. Yeah. Oh, man. That just made me think of a you might cut this I don’t know. Okay, I I watch Real Sports with Bryant. Gumbel sometimes and it reminds me they did a story once on people who were these like flying suits, you know, and they they jump off of high things like mountains or bridges. And there was one of these flying squirrel kind of thing. Yeah, yeah. And of course you land with a parachute like as when you’re ready to when you’re ready to come down you deploy a parachute at some point, but this guy just went smack into a bridge. Yeah, just like

couldn’t be me.


Oh, wow. Otto, put a trigger warning on this. Because we’re talking about death so

it’s kind of unavoidable with this film though. Yeah, yeah. So and I think that’s that’s good. That’s okay. But yeah, people should maybe know what they’re getting for Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Wow. Well, that is dick Johnson is dead. We both highly recommend it. Yeah, this is gonna be pretty high up I think for me as far as like best of the year goes I mean, there’s a lot of things I haven’t seen yet but I love this a whole lot. And I don’t usually have documentaries that high up for me. And again, this is not a straight documentary as we’ve said but so creative so emotionally moving, that I you know, I want to watch it again, you know, before long too And yeah, it’s a really special movie.

Thank you listeners for tuning in. Our house garage has a few years worth of episodes now and you can hear all of them in your podcast app of choice or by going to art house garage comm if you want to support art house garage, leave a rating or review in your podcast app that goes a long way. You can also buy an art house garage t shirt at our house garage, comm slash shop. stay in the loop about art house garage and the Arkansas film community by subscribing to our email newsletter that is at art house garage comm slash subscribe. You can also just email me directly if you have questions, comments concerns, Andrew at art house garage COMM And of course follow on social media. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and letterboxed just search at art house garage.

All those places or you can find links in the show notes, and that will do it for this episode. Thank you so much for listening and until next time, keep it snob, free

Transcribed by

Andrew Sweatman

Andrew Sweatman

Andrew is a writer, podcaster, and film lover who wants to help people think critically about movies. He lives in central Arkansas with his wife Allison and two children, Rosie & Beau. Andrew is the Senior Editor at Arthouse Garage and a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA). Find him at and on Twitter and Instagram: @ArthouseGarage.

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