CB Podcast Ep. 103 – Top Ten Films of 2017

It’s finally here! The Cinema Bros present their top ten lists and recap their full top 20s. They also give out awards for best underrated performances and the best new directors of 2017.
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Credits:

  • Hosts: Josiah Wampfler, Sam Wampfler & Jacob Wampfler
  • Produced by Josiah Wampfler
  • A Cinema Bros Network Podcast
  • Theme Music by Josiah Wampfler. Film clips used under fair use. All rights belong to their respective copyright holders
  • Music clips used under fair use. All rights belong to their respective copyright holders.
  • Visit our website for show notes as well as articles covering film, television, video games, music & more!
  • Email us at cinemabrospod@gmail.com

Cinema Bros’ Best Dialogue of 2017

Dialogue is probably one of the most important parts of a film. You can have incredible cinematography, great music, wonderful acting and a great story, but if the things that your characters are saying don’t seem believable or don’t make sense, it doesn’t matter. Great films usually have memorable, believable dialogue and there were many films that fit that bill in 2017. Here is the Cinema Bros’ list of the Best Dialogue of 2017:

**If you want to view a large version of each image, click or tap the photo**


Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – By James Gunn

By Sam

This exchange is interesting because it serves as a break in the action of the final battle of the film. As Peter Quill and Yondu are both descending from the wreckage of their ship Quill throws what he thinks is going to be a funny quip at Yondu, but since Yondu is an alien he assumes it is a compliment. It is a great moment for the pair when Quill, who has been growing closer to Yondu, his surrogate father figure, the entire film, decides to let Yondu believe that Mary Poppins is a cool dude. It is a funny but subtly tender moment.


Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – By Martin McDonagh

By Jacob

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is about as crass and tasteless as they come. It is, after all, a film set in the rural Midwest. Political correctness doesn’t exist here, and folks say a whole bunch of things they probably should keep to themselves. This venomous attack on an unsuspecting reporter epitomizes the film thematically, but it also encapsulates Mildred’s character. Her daughter was raped and murdered, yet the police aren’t in any hurry to figure out who is responsible. The titular billboards that announced her anger to the whole world have been vandalized. Mildred is absolutely correct: she’s just getting started and is certainly not concerned with her public image.


The Florida Project – By Sean Baker & Chris Bergoch

By Josiah

What is so wonderful about The Florida Project is how many of its little moments and little conversations are far more than meet the eye. From Willem Dafoe lighting a cigarette to Moonee playing in the bathtub to this wonderful conversation, writers Sean Baker and Chris Bergoch deserve a lot of credit for not only making the characters, story and dialogue feel incredibly real, but managing to thread a lot of really interesting subtext throughout. This conversation is a great example of that. Originally, Baker and Bergoch had written “up-rooted” instead of “tipped over”, but quickly realized that a six-year-old girl would never say it that way. So, not only do you have a line that feels exactly like a little girl would say it, but it also has huge subtext embedded in it. Moonee is much like the tree. She is a victim of her circumstance and, in a way, she has tipped over. But, despite her circumstances being quite bad, the film offers some hope. Moonee is still growing. It makes sense that she would gravitate toward the tree because it is a symbol of hope and she needs a little bit of hope.


The Big Sick – By Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani

By Sam

Shortly after Kumail meets the parents of his girlfriend, who is in a coma, he starts awkward small talk with them and what could be more awkward than bringing 9/11. This is the first of many great examples of this type of humor, but this is one of the best because it also mixes in some of the racial tension that makes up a bulk of the movie’s key plot points.


Brawl in Cell Block 99 – By S. Craig Zahler

By Jacob

This fascinating take on the “law of averages” is spoken by Bradley who has just been let go from his job at the local garage. He arrives home to find his garbage can has been knocked over onto the street. Getting out of his car, he discovers that his wife has been cheating on him with another man. He dismantles her car with his bare hands (I’m really not joking), and then calmly walks into the house and sits down on the couch. With bloodied knuckles, Bradley explains that he is done with playing the odds. This monologue signals a turning point in the film, one from which Bradley can’t come back. Brawl in Cell Block 99 is a film about a man who leaves nothing to chance. Bradley is done drinking the “skim stuff” and he won’t let anyone stop him from getting what is his.


Columbus – By Kogonada

By Josiah

I couldn’t make a list of the best dialogue of 2017 without including something from Kogonada’s beautiful debut Columbus. I mean, most of the film is really just two people talking to each other trying to hash out the problems and obstacles in their lives. This particular scene is the first time real tension is brought into the relationship. Casey is a young woman who is fascinated by architecture and has put her life on pause to stay home and care for her former drug addict mother. Jin is older and is in town because his architecture professor father has slipped into a coma. This scene perfectly demonstrated how alike and how different the characters are. Both are struggling with their parent being an obstacle in their lives and this is the first scene they begin to be truly honest about their feelings about that. Much like the architecture throughout the film, the dialogue here by Kogonada is perfectly constructed.


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Cinema Bros’ Best New Directors – The 2017 Class

Directors are probably given too much credit both for the success or the failure of a film, but, given how difficult the job is, it makes sense. Directors not only have to bring their creative vision of their film to life, but they also have to manage a set, direct actors, deal with producers and budgets and so much more. That is why it is so impressive to get great films with clear directorial vision from newer directors. So, we would like to recognize the achievements of directors that just popped up on our radar this last year. These are directors that either released their first feature film last year or the film that they released was their first to gain any real traction. Some of these directors are familiar faces for other reasons and some of them you’ve probably never heard of, but all of them made superb films in the first part of their careers. Below are our nominees for the Best New Directors of 2017. The winners will be announced during our top 10 podcast at the end of the month. You’ll want to keep an eye on these names.


Jeremy Rush – Wheelman

By Jacob Wampfler

You can dig around on the interwebs to find Jeremy Rush’s previous film credits, but you won’t find much. His filmography on IMDB is a smattering of crew positions for short films and shows that you’ve likely never seen (I haven’t either). That’s what makes Wheelman  completely astounding to me. This first time writer/director not only delivered an exceedingly interesting concept for his first feature, but he also managed to make a really great sub-genre film in the process.

Almost every choice in Rush’s Wheelman is truly inspired. The casting of Frank Grillo as the film’s namesake, the choice to shoot the entire film from inside or mounted on a vehicle, and the lack of exposition all create an aesthetic that sets Wheelman apart while also keeping it firmly rooted in its source material. Shot in only nineteen days and drawing inspiration from films like Bullitt, Drive, and Nightcrawler, it’s no wonder that Joe Carnahan’s production company is attached to Rush’s first film. Carnahan specializes in making the familiar unique, and Rush follows suit in a big way. Wheelman is a dazzling entry into the getaway driver genre and Jeremy Rush won’t be unknown for much longer.


Macon Blair – I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore

By Sam Wampfler

The brilliance of I Don’t Feel at Home In This World Anymore is apparent right from the very opening scene. We follow Ruth (Melanie Lynskey) through her daily routine and are immediately treated to the exact reasons why she doesn’t “feel at home” anymore. Every interaction she has turns into a depressing reminder of the sad state of the world, from the mundane run-ins with greedy shoppers to the racist ramblings of one of the elderly women she looks after as a nursing assistant. This wonderfully crafted sequence of misery and some dark humor leads into the catalyst for the rest of the film: The theft of Ruth’s laptop and her Grandmother’s cutlery.

Blair not only picked the best actors for the main roles, but he also got some of the best and most unique performances of their careers. Elijah Wood, who plays Ruth’s neighbor and eventual crime fighting teammate, is probably the best example of this. His role is insane. He sports a rattail, he goes into battle against common thieves with nunchaku and throwing stars, and he babbles on about some completely inane nonsense. It is by far the funniest and most creative roles Wood has ever played.

Blair walked a real tight wire act in making this film. It is a great blend of the comedic and the darkly depressing. There are some truly hilarious moments and some terribly bloody moments (sometimes there’s a bit of both). But, probably the most interesting part of the film is its ability to take such a brutal and depressing premise and still have a hopeful and heartfelt message in the end.


Justin Chon – Gook

By Josiah Wampfler

Gook is a miracle. Made for less than $100,000, director Justin Chon has delivered a true work of art despite the obstacles in his way. Drawing on his own experience of seeing his father’s shoe store looted during the 1992 L.A. Riots, Chon brings us a story set the day those riots broke out. The riots stay on the outskirts of the film for much of the run-time (budgetary reasons demanded this), but even if most of the physical destruction hasn’t reached this part of the city, the anger and resentment is spilling over. Gook brilliantly shows us a story of friendship and family during the turbulent event and shows us a side of Los Angeles that is rarely represented on screen.

Chon is a bonafide quadruple threat with Gook, taking on the duties of directing, writing, producing and starring in the film. He and his co-star David So play  two Korean-American brothers (Eli and Daniel) who run a women’s shoe store in Paramount, right next to Compton. A rambunctious 11 year-old black girl named Kamilla (Simone Baker) hangs around the store periodically helping them out, even though her family would rather she stayed away from the store. It is a tale of friendship across racial boundaries, but set uniquely during a time and place we rarely see in film. Unlike most films about the riots, Gook isn’t out to reduce the riots to black vs. white, but to show just how complex the event was.

With his grad student cinematographer Ante Chen, Chon manages to capture this unique story in a brilliantly unique way. Shot in gorgeous, crisp black and white, Gook is one of the best looking films of 2017. What the duo manage to capture with mainly natural light is simply mesmerizing and there are many images I can’t top thinking about. Chon seems to truly understand the power of images in cinema and uses his camera to bring a great deal of emotional heft to the film.

Overall, I was pretty dumbfounded with Gook. The casting is incredible (Baker is going to be a star one day), the story manages to be both emotional and funny, and Chon proves that he is a filmmaker to watch. I’m so excited to see what he does next because, if he could pull this off with this low of a budget, imagine what he’ll be able to do once he has a budget.


Best Dialogue of 2016

Dialogue is probably one of the most important parts of a film. You can have incredible cinematography, great music, wonderful acting and a great story, but if the things that your characters are saying don’t seem believable or don’t make sense, it doesn’t matter. Good films have dialogue that seems like something a real person may say (or at least makes you suspend your disbelief). Great films have dialogue that you remember, whether because it is funny, moving or profound.

Below, is the Cinema Bros’ top 12 bits of dialogue in 2016 films. Last year was a great year in screenwriting, so hear is our ode to the best bits of that:


12.   Hail Caesar!

Screenwriters: Joel & Ethan Cohen

hail-caesar-quote

— Jake —

The Coen brothers are gifted screenwriters and Hail Caesar! showcases them at the top of their game. This exchange is only the beginning of a masterfully written scene in which Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), studio head for Capitol Pictures, seeks to bend the ears of four holy men on the portrayal of Jesus Christ in an upcoming biblical epic. Its wry humor and colloquial tone (“Does the depiction of Christ Jesus cut the mustard?”) are a hallmark of Coen films and makes Hail Caesar! another wonderful entry into their impressive filmography.

11.   The Edge of Seventeen

Screenwriter: Kelly Fremon Craig

edge-of-seventeen-quote

— Sam —

This is the one line, fairly early in the film, that made me know that the movie I was watching was going to be immensely entertaining. The main character Nadine is reminiscing about her first meeting with her best friend, Krista. Nadine’s description of Krista as a “small old man” was perfect by itself but then she tacks on the fact that her breath smelled like Sweet Tarts. The fact that she remembered exactly how her friends breath smelled shows how much Krista means to her and also makes this line even more hilarious.

10.   Deadpool

Screenwriters: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick

deadpool-quote

— Sam —

The best part about this scene is the delivery by Ryan Reynolds. Deadpool is inside a wrecked vehicle and sticks his hands out in the air to “surrender” and the scene is played mostly through his hand gestures to a hilarious effect. Ryan Reynolds shows more character in his hands than some actors can show with their entire body. The best part about the dialogue is the “brown pants” bit. It’s basically just a subtle poop joke and the way that the villains don’t seem to understand it makes for an extremely funny scene.

9.   Jackie

Screenwriter: Noah Oppenheim

jackie-quote

— Joe —

The entire screenplay to Jackie is like a masterclass in writing for film, which is impressive considering it is only Oppenheim’s third screenplay. But, this line in particular is what sealed the deal on the film’s greatness for me. As Jackie (Natalie Portman) speaks to a priest about the traumatic events she just endured, this line comes as a perfect summation of what she has been trying to accomplish throughout the film in securing her husbands legacy, a sad realization that her life with John was never meant to last and a poignant expression of modern myth-making and celebrity. The complexities of this one exchange perfectly mirror the complexities of the film as a whole.

8.   The Nice Guys

Screenwriters: Shane Black, Anthony Bagarozzi

the-nice-guys-quote

— Sam —

This hilarious bit of dialogue comes when the main character, Holland March (Ryan Gosling), takes his daughter and her friend to a bowling alley. Surrounded by screaming girls, he yells “Jesus Christ” and is promptly scolded for it by his daughter’s Christian friend. The exchange is hilarious due to the fact that it takes a common expression and completely subverts it. Holland’s response is completely unexpected on a first viewing. This is one of the best parts if this bit of dialogue and the script in general.

7.   Sing Street

Screenwriter: John Carney

sing-street-quote

— Joe —

Even though the main thrust of Sing Street is a young man forming a band to impress a girl, another important aspect of the film is relationships between men. You have the relationship between the main character, Connor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), and his band mates, the relationship with his father and the relationship with his older brother Brendan (Jack Reynor). This last relationship is one of the most important relationships in the film and is largely comedic, but this bit of dialogue is the moment it takes a turn into the dramatic.

As Brendan realizes that his dreams have slipped away from him and his brother is grabbing those same dreams by the horns, he lets loose one of most heartbreaking monologues I heard last year. As a man with two older brothers, it made me think of the debts I owe both of them for allowing me to move in their “jet stream.” This, combined with the absolutely brilliant delivery by Jack Reynor made this one of the most emotional scenes I saw last year.

“Hell or High Water” Review – A Modern Masterpiece on the Dying American Dream

By Jacob Wampfler

As I sit here listening to the score for Hell or High Water, there is something eerily uncomfortable yet familiar about this beautiful film.  Set in rural West Texas and focusing on two bank-robbing brothers, this is a story of those who have lost out on the proverbial and increasingly illusive American dream.  It is a showcase for the ferocious love that is established by blood, but also displays the darkness of which we are capable in the name of that same love.

There are two major elements in play that make this film, quite frankly, a modern masterpiece.  The camera and script work in a perfect union.  Together, they create what can only be described as some of the most beautiful and rugged artwork I have witnessed in recent memory.  If not for stark reality, I would almost say some shots were too blatant: “for sale” signs, realty company billboards, closed businesses, bars on windows and chains on door handles.  However, these shots aren’t as blatant as they are intentional.  This is the rural and small-town America that this nation’s people have come to know.  As such, this film is all-too familiar.  My parents owned one of those businesses that had to close its doors.  I saw the “for sale” sign go up.  I sat next to them as they mourned the loss of their dreams.  And if robbing a bank would have helped them, I can’t truly say that option would have been off the table.

Taylor Sheridan’s script for this film is simply one of the best I have ever heard acted and spoken aloud.  I’m still trying to wrap my mind around how this character actor, best known for his portrayal of Deputy Chief of Police David Hale in Sons of Anarchy, has ascended to his current status as one of the best screenwriters in Hollywood.  His previous work with Sicario hinted at greatness.  Following Hell or High Water, there is no question that Sheridan is legitimately an upper echelon player today.  Perhaps my favorite line in the whole film, spoken by Jeff Bridges, epitomizes that greatness.  While conducting an investigation in a bank, Ranger Marcus Hamilton (Bridges) sees a man wearing a business suit.  “That looks like a man who could foreclose on a house!” Marcus exclaims as he hurries over to talk to the banker.  This script is pure gold, and Sheridan needs recognition for his poignant work on Hell or High Water.

Director David Mackenzie brings everything together, including the four stand-out lead actors and a heart-wrenching score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.  Chris Pine is the best he’s ever been in this film, and Ben Foster displays a powerhouse performance and an embodiment of vicious brotherly love.  Honestly, Foster deserves awards attention for this performance but will likely get crowded out of any supporting actor nods.  Likewise, the relationship between Marcus and Gil Birmingham’s Alberto Parker brings a welcome measure of levity to the film, while also serving as a foil for Toby and Tanner (Pine and Foster).  The bank-robbing brothers and lawmen are two sides of the same coin, and the film portrays them as such without spoon-feeding the viewer any easy answers.

In the vein of Jeff Nichols’ work with Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter, and Mud, filmmakers would be wise to take Hell or High Water very seriously.  These are the original stories that need to be told about the people of this country.  These Steinbeckian tales are real ones.  They are about real people with real struggles and real dreams.  And often, the reality of our world is too much to bear alone.  To quote another Jeff Bridges film, (Crazy Heart) “This ain’t no place for the weary kind.”  Films like this one shed light on the weary – the bruised, battered, and broken – and help us realize our own darkness and need for redemption.  Hell or High Water, now more than ever, is essential and relevant filmmaking.  We need to start listening to its message.  

CB Podcast Ep. 43 – Why Christian Movies Suck / “Last Days in the Desert” Review

“This week, the bros make predictions about the fall movie slate, talk about what makes so many Christian films bad and reach back into their movie backlog to catch up with ‘Last Days in the Desert,’ the film in which Ewan McGreggor plays both Jesus and Satan during their struggle in the desert.”

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