Munich is episode 103 focusing on the movie of the same name, as part of the Pod Me If You Cast miniseries covering the filmography of Steven Spielberg's Dreamworks era. Posted 9 April 2017.
Emily VanDerWerff (Vox) joins Griffin and David this week to discuss 2005’s Israeli espionage thriller, Munich. But is this movie’s lasting legacy being a reference in Knocked Up? What does it mean when Jeffrey Wells leaves behind his hat? What was with those sex scenes? Together, they go on the record with Oscar picks, examine Eric Bana’s career trajectory, ponder when Spielberg lost his virginity and go off on a tangent about the film Crash.
Two hours and forty-five minutes of serious Spielberg to talk about. Whew.
Emily VanDerWerff is in the studio to discuss this movie which she loves, and flashes back to the Oscar Best Picture race where Munich matched up against Brokeback Mountain (was the Academy ready to honor a 'gay movie'? No they were not) and Crash (yes, of course the rich-white-guilt-LA-people movie about racism eventually won out). Also, shoutout to Spanglish!
So, Munich. It was criticized for being both too anti-Israel and anti-Palestine. Hmmm - when you make a movie about how there are no easy answers, it's tough. This is also the end of Eric Bana as leading man, after three chances at it. What a weird career, to come to Hollywood as a dramatic actor after being an Australian comedy star and sketch performer. And over in the States he becomes The Hulk?
But, Munich. This movie is not process-oriented. Curious, given Spielberg's later turn towards movies about Tom Hanks being good at his job. Emily wonders if it's the script by Eric Roth, known for writing things like The Insider, The Postman, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The latter of which Griffin will stand up for - due for a reappraisal as a character study of this man who is inherently doomed to loneliness, she says. And Fincher's not as interested in the narrative, or the literal facts of this guy's situation, he's just using it as a device to get at those personal internal character questions... but Emily notes, "But was it a better expression of that concept than the fourth season of 'Mork & Mindy' where their child was played by Jonathan Winters as 'Mearth'? I'm not sure."
Munich tho. Spielberg is normally all about tying things up neatly and being very straightforwardly... manipulative... about what the audience should be thinking about the story. But here there are only a few moments of that. Instead it's all about feeling constant paranoia, and it's disorienting. And the violence is played for realism and shock, with loud jarring gunshots that aren't so Hollywood.
The safehouse scene with Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" is Emily's favorite scene. It distresses her that this movie she loves is mostly remembered in the culture for the sex scene and for the reference in Knocked Up when the bros all bro out about this film. It's maybe not so much the badass-Jews revenge movie those man-children think it is.
MUNICH. It's essentially bookended by contrasting sex scenes, but what everyone wants to talk about is the last one, so let's talk about it. The only intimately shot sex scene Spielberg has ever done, right? It's maybe a tad overdone with the last shot, with the slo-mo and the ridiculous amount of sweat.
You know, earlier too there was that thing with Bana on the hotel balconies, and the movie made a point of showing that couple across the way gettin' it on. Is this movie about Spielberg losing his virginity? Was the chilly critical and audience reception due to when it was released, while the USA was grappling with its own Middle East motivations and entanglements? Are Box Office Mojo categories the most ridiculous things, with this movie landing high in the "Middle East - Travelogue" category?
Milestones and Ephemera
- Thinks he can reserve a hotel room for Sundance by leaving his cowboy hat: Jeff Wells
- shadowcasting Blank Check into Munich: Griffin as Robert the l'il bombmaker who could
- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: A Wes Anderson movie made by David Fincher
- Producer Ben's cat's name: Pig
- Ben's Munich Take: cool action movie
- death: sucks.
- Blank Check merch: any day now