Ruminations is finally back and, boy, did we miss a lot over the last 6 months! We start off Episode X with a discussion of our experiences during the COVID-19 lockdown and what we’ve been watching to pass the time as society crumbles around us, but the main event is much more fun. In a companion piece to our first-ever episode, we rank the best and worst of Pixar Animation Studios, once the baby of Apple’s Steve Jobs and now an integral part of Disney’s galactic empire. In a departure from our first episode, however, we stick to our own rankings, which means there are some fireworks!
It’s that time of year again. Except for the first time in at least a decade, I have no issues with any of the major nominations. (Hence, there’s no podcast of us venting like last year.) It’s basically a miracle. What once seemed like a wide-open race has more or less solidified into a night built around the question, “Will 1917 win that award?” Unfortunately, this means my personal favorite of the movies–well, apart from The Lighthouse, solely nominated for Best Cinematography–and the one most-deserving of awards, Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, might end the night without a single Oscar. Here’s to hoping for a few pleasant surprises!
Below are my predictions for the 2020 Academy Awards: Continue reading
Happy New Year from Ruminations! To celebrate the start of 2020 and the end of the 2010s, we talk* about 10 of our favorite movies from a decade that wasn’t all that great when it came to cinema. (At least in our opinions, but our opinions are Correct.) Stick around for some honorable mentions!
- Since posting our episode on Halloween, I have finished The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist by Matt Baglio. I can’t recommend it enough for anyone looking for an accessible and informative overview of angels, demons, demonic infestation/oppression/possession, and the various ways in which exorcists go about exorcising demons in the 21st century. More on book’s main focus, Fr. Gary Thomas, below in our section on the movie version of The Rite.
- Here is an abbreviated form of the Rite of Exorcism from the Roman Ritual. It was admittedly harder to find online than one might think, but Chris found it. If you would like to purchase the full ritual, you can buy it here with the full Latin and English texts, side by side.
- Here is Fr. Vincent Lampert, Exorcist for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, being interviewed on EWTN’s World Over program with Raymond Arroyo. As mentioned in the episode, Chris saw Fr. Lampert speak at Montclair State University twice (in 2010 as a student and then with me in 2016, post-college); here is video of his lecture at Seton Hall University in 2017. Lastly, Fr. Lampert also appeared in The Making of a Modern Exorcist as an exorcist-in-training with Fr. Thomas.
- The career of Rome’s foremost exorcist, the late Fr. Gabriel Amorth, is discussed on EWTN’s World Over program with Raymond Arroyo and The Exorcist director William Friedkin. Fr. Amorth was the author of numerous books on exorcisms–his most famous book available in English is An Exorcist Tells His Story–and was the subject of Friedkin’s 2017 documentary, The Devil and Fr. Amorth.
- Chris also mentioned the book Interview with an Exorcist: An Insider’s Look at the Devil, Demonic Possession, and the Path to Deliverance, which is exactly what it sounds like. This exorcist is Fr. José Antonio Fortea of Spain.
- Christ mentioned how priests partake in a “black fast” before beginning the exorcist ritual. We couldn’t find an exact source for this but Matt Baglio did make a point about fasting beforehand in The Making of a Modern Exorcist.
- Chris and I talked about this video from VICE where a reporter attended a voodoo ceremony in a basement in a Haitian neighborhood in Brooklyn. It is freaky and bizarre and also completely fascinating.
For our Halloween-themed episode, the Ruminations team talks about the Catholic Rite of Exorcism and the movies that have made it famous. Learn the differences between demonic infestation, oppression, and possession, what it’s like to talk to a 90-year-old exorcist IRL, and why even modern Hollywood can sometimes treat Catholicism respectfully!
(In order to get Episode VIII out in time for, you know, Halloween, our show notes will be posted at a later date. Stay tuned!)
The Curse of the Black Pearl
- This video explains some of the behind the scenes history of the making of The Curse of the Black Pearl, especially the comical short sightedness of Disney’s former CEO, Michael Eisner.
- Johnny Depp received an Oscar nomination for his role of Jack Sparrow, ultimately losing to Sean Penn for Mystic River. In 2018, Depp received the exact opposite honor when he was nominated for a Golden Raspberry for his (final?) performance of Jack in Dead Men Tell No Tales.
- Wikipedia has a good breakdown of how Hans Zimmer and Klaus Badelt split the work for the score of the first Pirates film. Long story short: Zimmer couldn’t focus on the score because he was busy composing for The Last Samurai, so he passed the work onto Badelt. However, he still managed to compose most of the main cues with Badelt. Because the schedule was so rushed, seven other composers had to contribute orchestrations and cues, including Game of Thrones’ Ramin Djawadi and Arrow/The Flash‘s Blake Neely. The most famous track, “He’s a Pirate,” sounds like it was lifted verbatim from Zimmer’s Gladiator track, “The Battle.”
After what seems like an eternity, Rum-inations is back with our seventh episode! As promised at the end of Episode VI, this one is all about pirates and rum. To prepare for such an undertaking…we bought a whole bunch of rum and rewatched all 5 Pirates of the Caribbean movies with our friend Ruben, who now joins us as our first guest!
In addition to our episode, check out our show notes full of movie and musical clips, historical tidbits, and mucho rum recommendations!
Ruminations is back with its most historical episode yet! In Episode VI, Chris and Steve recount their April trip to Rome, the Eternal City, highlighting the history and splendor of St. Peter’s Basilica, the glory witnessing the Capitoline Wolf and Augustus of Prima Porta statues in person, an unexpected visit to an actual medieval castle, and more. This episode is a bit on the long side, folks–if you make it through the first 45 minutes, you’ll at least be rewarded by two superb anecdotes that practically had the hosts in tears!
Stick around until the end and check out our show notes full of historical tidbits, book recommendations, and lots of pictures!
Game of Thrones (01:30-26:30): As we mentioned in the episode, the entire world has Game of Thrones Season 8 takes. Below are a few interesting columns, blogs, and podcasts we’ve come across since the finale aired:
- Entertainment Weekly‘s recap podcast with Darren Franich and James Hibberd. Hibberd visited various sets and interviewed actors during filming so he knew many of the plot points that were to occur, yet he still wasn’t keen on its final product (as conveyed in his own finale recap).
- Alan Sepinwall of Rolling Stone‘s equally unimpressed blog specifically focusing on Tyrion’s kingmaking
- This amazing GLoP podcast in which guests Ross Douthat (New York Times) and Sonny Bunch (Washington Free Beacon & Washington Post) join co-hosts John Podhoretz and Jonah Goldberg, and the normally level-headed Ross has a few, er, choice words to say about showrunners Benioff and Weiss.
- Lastly, this AV Club essay by Myles McNutt takes a contrarian, positive take on the finale, noting its thematic consistencies. Worth a read, as much as we might not agree with his view of the final product.
- Flashback to Episode I and our ranking of the 57 Disney Animated Classics. Look at Number 1 on all 3 lists!
- Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the “Speechless” writing team, on their new woke song for Jasmine
- Cartoon Jafar sings “Prince Ali,” which was left entirely out of the new movie. Speaking of missing Jafar scenes from the 1992 original, wasn’t live action Jafar’s transformation into a giant cobra so cool to see on the big screen? Oh.
Knights of the Old Republic (39:30-42:30):
- The news. Ugh. Here is the original trailer for the award-winning 2003 RPG. It plays automatically whenever you start up the original Xbox game, and I get chills every time. (The torture scene towards the end, which plays a major role in the plot, is very similar to this scene in The Force Awakens, and the only time my interest was piqued while watching Episode VII.)
- There’s a new book about the making of the game!
- This meme:
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (42:30-49:00):
- Not really much to say about this one. Some news about its box office numbers, as it was more successful than the previous two movies in its opening weekend.
Avengers: Endgame (49:00-51:00):
- This Half in the Bag review from the always-great Red Letter Media is comprehensive and sensible.
- We were both annoyed by Fat Thor though we never mentioned it in the podcast. Apparently, Chris Hemsworth fought to keep him in the movie?
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Everything is Terrible in Episode V of Ruminations! When writing about our last episode, I quoted T.S. Eliot since cruel, cruel April brought us the ending of two of our favorite franchises. Little did I know how cruel it would actually be! Another Eliot quote is appropriate now (this one the conclusion to The Hollow Men):
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but with a whimper.
Whimper to its conclusion Game of Thrones did–and its lackluster finale takes up the full first half of our episode–but it wasn’t alone in its dullness. The live action Aladdin remake and the much-hyped John Wick Chapter 3 – Parabellum, released in back-to-back weekends, were also quite lame, to put it mildly. To top off this whirlwind of recent mediocrity, a bit of (potentially) soul-crushing Star Wars news also leaked this week. When will the suffering end?
Avenger: Endgame was pop culture’s only saving grace and we gladly left it out of our lamentations (until, ya know, the end of our episode, when we decided to actually talk about it. Oops?)
Listen and complain along with us! And, as always, SPOILERS!