The members of The Incomparable panel watch old movies selected by our old-movie sommelier, Philip Michaels, and then talk about them.

A Parrot Bit Me

Old Movie Club returns with two paranoid films set amid the intrigue of postwar Europe: 1949’s “The Third Man” and 1965’s “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.” The former features Orson Welles, a collection of suspicious characters in Vienna, and a whole lot of zither music. The latter features Richard Burton mixing insobriety with spycraft, and a very peculiar library. (This episode is presented in black and white.)

Jason Snell with Philip Michaels, Dr. Drang, Frank Wu, David J. Loehr and Monty Ashley


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He’s Way Better Than Fonzie

A bunch of people born in the 1970s discuss two films from that decade about young people coming of age: 1973’s “American Graffiti” and 1979’s “Breaking Away.” The first is a film (set in 1962) featuring young people driving around a northern California town on the last night of summer before reality sets in; the second is about young people riding bikes (and swimming in a quarry) in Indiana. The first comes from the future director of “Star Wars”; the second comes from the future director of “Krull”. Both are full of faces you will recognize. And both have interesting things to say about being young and the prospect of growing up.

Jason Snell with Philip Michaels, John Siracusa, Lisa Schmeiser and Steve Lutz


Likeable Jerkability

The epic film about the early days of the space race, 1983’s “The Right Stuff,” is on the launch pad this week. What does the film say about modern mythmaking? Can you have too much Chuck Yeager? Is this peak Dennis Quaid? Why do astronauts have to be test pilots instead of demolition-derby drivers? We’ll figure it out. Let’s light this candle!

Jason Snell with Philip Michaels, Andy Ihnatko, Dr. Drang, Stephen Hackett and Dan Moren


Show Some Respect for the Chimp

Old Movie Club returns with two classic films directed by Billy Wilder and starring William Holden: The darkly tragi-comic Hollywood story “Sunset Boulevard” and the dramati-comic World War II prisoner-of-war story “Stalag 17.” Monty pitches a “Sunset Boulevard” prequel featuring a butler and a chimp. We notice the similarities between “Stalag 17” and an enormous number of sitcoms and comedy films from the following 30 years.

Jason Snell with Erika Ensign, Philip Michaels, Steve Lutz, Shannon Sudderth, Andy Ihnatko, Dan Moren and Monty Ashley


Keep Watching the Skies

Old Movie Club views two films produced—and some would say directed—by Howard Hawks. The fast-paced comedy “His Girl Friday” leads us off, followed by the original sci-fi horror film “The Thing from Another World.” Both feature snappy overlapping dialogue, but only one features a murderous alien carrot man.

Jason Snell with Philip Michaels, Erika Ensign, Dr. Drang, David J. Loehr, Monty Ashley and Steve Lutz


Comprehensive Tapestry Policy

On this Old (Holiday) Movie Club, we review a certifiable Christmas classic, “Miracle on 34th Street.” Then we watch a very different sort of film set on Christmas, “The Lion in Winter.”

Jason Snell with Philip Michaels, Lisa Schmeiser, Steve Lutz, David J. Loehr and Dan Moren


District Attorney Doofus

Old Movie Club returns with two films featuring George C. Scott: “The Hustler” (featuring an electric performance by Paul Newman) and “Anatomy of a Murder” (starring Jimmy Stewart as a simple country lawyer). One more outburst and I’ll clear this courtroom!

Jason Snell with Philip Michaels, Dr. Drang, Monty Ashley, Steve Lutz and David J. Loehr


Ignoring the Movie Completely

Old Movie Club reconvenes to watch two films based on the works of Dashiell Hammett: 1934’s “The Thin Man” and 1941’s “The Maltese Falcon.” We appreciate the drunken aplomb of Nick and Nora and the shifty glory of Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet, all while taking in the faint scent of gardenias.

Jason Snell with Philip Michaels, Erika Ensign, Steve Lutz, Monty Ashley, Dan Moren, David J. Loehr and Dr. Drang


Shopping With Mrs. Gehrig

Play ball! It’s opening weekend, so Old Movie Club returns with two classic baseball movies: “Pride of the Yankees” and “The Bad News Bears.” Even if you don’t like baseball (like Erika), you may enjoy these movies just fine! One’s a biopic from the 1940s complete with a song, and the other is an appropriately gross 1970s comedy. Join us, won’t you?

Jason Snell with Erika Ensign, Philip Michaels, Steve Lutz, Monty Ashley and David J. Loehr


Plot Advancement Tribune

Our Old Movie Club, featuring classic films many of us haven’t seen selected just for us by Philip Michaels, is back!

In this edition, we look at two underappreciated films of Alfred Hitchcock: 1943’s “Shadow of a Doubt” and 1948’s “Rope.” The former features Joseph Cotten shooting up through the ceiling of creepy, a battle of telepathy versus telegraphy, the special bond of people named Charlie, murder by soda, and an appearance by the Exposition Radio Network. The latter offers long unbroken scenes, drunk Farley Granger, a perfect murder perpetrated by Batman villains, and Jimmy Stewart as Columbo. Both films have Hitchcock in common, as well as Hume Cronyn… and murder!

Jason Snell with Philip Michaels, Steve Lutz, Monty Ashley, Dan Moren, David J. Loehr and Andy Ihnatko


The Europeans Do It Better

In just moments, Rufus T. Firefly will appear, and all the people of Freedonia will cheer at the presence of their new leader. In the meantime, let’s take some time in our Old Movie Club to discuss the enduring and hilarious works of the Marx Brothers in general and the films “Duck Soup” and “A Night at the Opera” in particular.

Jason Snell with David J. Loehr, Steve Lutz, Philip Michaels, Monty Ashley and Andy Ihnatko


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