Monday, February 25, 2019
All about taking a deep dive
So much pop-culture criticism is so superficial, barely scratching the surface, and I’m just as bad as anyone. But I do love a decent deep dive into one particular movie or book, wringing out absolutely everything that can be said about it
Right now, all I want to listen to on the long walk home after work every night is the One Heat Minute podcast by Blake Howard, which is going through Michael Mann’s brilliant movie minute by minute, and doing an episode for every single one of its two hours and fifty minutes. It’s up to minute 115, and while I thought the joke would wear thin, there is more than enough in the movie to discuss for more than a hundred hours.
In this kind of deep dive, everything gets covered - the acting, the themes, the production design, the music, the facial hair, the everything – and Howard and his fellow podcast hosts turn over every rock in the movie and see what’s underneath.
It’s not a surprise that a movie like Heat can stand this kind of scrutiny, because it’s a fucking excellent film that is complicated and complex enough to merit that focus. But you can do it with almost anything, if you have the will to follow through. Right now, TV’s original bad boy critic Sean T Collins is promising to do an essay on Patrick Swayze classic Road House every day in 2019, and he’s almost two months into it and hasn’t come close running out of things to say about that huge slice of American cheese. Turns out, there is a lot to talk about, from Sam Elliott’s magnificent hair to the standard of henchmen in the film to the ARE YOU KIDDING? guy.
I’m not saying that everything actually deserves this kind of inspection, there are plenty of movies that have nothing to say beyond the fact that they exist. But it’s always a pleasure to take that kind of deep dive on something that really deserves it, and seeing what comes to the surface.