I was really hyped for American Ultra, so I went back to my pal Justin Bell. Turns out the movie was something short of what it could’ve been, but Justin lived up to expectations. I had such high hopes for the movie because it stars Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart, and they were amazing in Adventureland. That’s one of my top personal favorites. They were about as good here, but several other things let them down. It’s still fun to discuss why it fell short and fun to remember why Adventureland is so great. Give it a chariot progressive listen.
Talking about a music movie with a music person. My childhood buddy Austin Shockley agrees it’s an unexpectedly good movie. Rap biopic’s don’t have a great record and we do have a suggestion or two for this one, but this one certainly overcame those long odds. It did so in part because it used the NWA story to say some larger things, and we talk those over. What they didn’t include in the story also says something, and we give that full treatment as well. This movie also did fall into one of the problems most movies show these days, and I used this as a fine opportunity to rail against that.
It was cool talking about this with Austin. We have known each other for a long time but run in different spheres currently. He’s coming from a different perspective with a different set of information, and that’s always cool.
This is a movie and podcast where it seems worth reminding you at the outset: we do a lot of spoilers. We hope the episodes can be enjoyed by anyone, but they’re made with the person who has already seen the movie in mind. I say that because the movie does have a pretty sick ending. It’s also got the sort of psychology-based plot material that makes it a perfect place to start a conversation. For that reason, I think this is one of the best one’s we’ve done. I had on my lifelong friend Nick Brooks (it seemed appropriate since the movie is about people who went to school together meeting again in the real world). He’s had brushes with this kind of situation, and he shared that. We both had thoughts on how adults often can be pretty unrecognizable from their high school selves. We had thoughts on how much you can really know a person. We had thoughts on a ton of things. It’s pretty rich subject material.