Letterboxd’s editor in chief Gemma Gracewood and lists editor Jack Moulton discuss their favorite docs of 2020 so far. Letterboxd members call in with their own top-doc picks, and we’re joined by Eli Despres and Elyse Steinberg, two-thirds of the directing team behind The Fight, which follows ACLU lawyers as they argue for major social justice issues including trans rights in the military and abortion access. Elyse also reveals she once acted in a Todd Haynes film. (We’ve kept in interruptions by children for pandemic documentary realness!)
Films and lists mentioned:
Official Letterboxd Top 100 Documentaries
Welcome to Chechnya
Crip Cramp: A Disability Revolution
Mucho Mucho Amor
The Painter and the Thief
The documentaries of Agnès Varda
He Dreams of Giants
The Ghost of Peter Sellers
Father Soldier Son
Making a Murder (and Knives Out)
The Last Dance
The Fight directors:
How to Survive a Plague
A Few Good Men
It Might Get Loud
You Cannot Kill David Arquette
Feels Good Man
This episode was recorded in Los Angeles, New York and Auckland and edited by Morgan Avery. Podcast artwork by Ann Davenport. Theme music: ‘Hitchcock’ by The Phoenix Foundation (their new single ‘Landline’ is out now). Our next episode features Irish animator Tomm Moore. To be in to win a Pro membership, leave us a voice message about your favorite animated film of all time.
Actor, documentarian and excellent human Alex Winter joins Letterboxd’s Gemma Gracewood and Jack Moulton to talk about his three new films: Showbiz Kids, Zappa and the long-awaited Bill & Ted Face the Music.
Films mentioned by Alex:
Bill & Ted Face the Music
Land Without Bread
The films of Stan Brakhage and Chris Marker
The Rolling Stones: Cocksucker Blues
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Raiders of the Lost Ark
The Lost Boys
The Empire Strikes Back
The films of Charlie Chaplin and Fred Astaire
Once Upon A Time... in Hollywood
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
The Painter and the Thief
Alex’s 50 B-Sides and Rarities list
The Letterboxd list for this episode.
Alex’s Letterboxd profile
This episode was recorded in Los Angeles and Auckland, and edited by Morgan Avery. Podcast artwork by Ann Davenport. Our theme music is ‘Hitchcock’ by The Phoenix Foundation. Our next episode is also about documentaries, with the directors of The Fight. Leave us a voice message about your favorite doc of 2020.
From pitching to studios via video to filming in confined spaces, the filmmakers behind found-footage favorites Searching (Aneesh Chaganty) and new browser-horror Host (Rob Savage, Jed Shepherd and Gemma Hurley) share their best tips for making movies in quarantine. Plus, Rob and Aneesh reveal their heavy-duty Letterboxd habits, Aneesh talks about casting his next film, Run, and his roommate Blake pops in to explain their elaborate method for how to choose what film to watch.
Films mentioned by Jed, Rob and Gemma
As Above, So Below
Night of the Comet
Your Name. (君の名は。)
Films mentioned by Aneesh
The Sixth Sense
The Mission Impossible franchise
“When Shyamalan was a major, major deal, making hit after hit”
Sense and Sensibility
Anvil! The Story of Anvil
(500) Days of Summer
Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India
On Letterboxd: Jed Shepherd; Aneesh Chaganty; Aneesh’s roommate Blake.
This episode was recorded in London, Los Angeles and Auckland, and edited by Morgan Avery. Podcast artwork by Ann Davenport. Theme music is ‘Hitchcock’ by The Phoenix Foundation. Our next episode is about documentaries, with writer-director and Bill & Ted star Alex Winter, and the directors of The Fight. Leave a voice message with your question for Winter.
Since the roll-out of Studio Ghibli films on Netflix and HBO Max this year, there’s been an explosion of Letterboxd activity around the famed studio’s films. Our Ghibli-loving guests couldn’t be happier. David Jenkins (Little White Lies), Tasha Robinson (Polygon) and Adam Kempenaar (Filmspotting) share their Ghibli obsessions and discuss whether to “sub or dub”. Letterboxd members phone in with their favs. Plus: Little White Lies turns 15.
David Jenkins’ review of My Neighbor Totoro
Polygon’s best Studio Ghibli scenes survey
@c0mmunicants’ Ghibli tweet
The Official Letterboxd Top 250
Letterboxd members’ top 20 favorite comfort films
Adam’s daughter Sophie on Letterboxd
Mami Sunada’s The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness
Our Q&A with the hosts of Ghibliotheque
This episode was recorded in Chicago, London and Auckland and edited by Morgan Avery. Podcast artwork by Ann Davenport. Theme music is ‘Hitchcock’ by The Phoenix Foundation. Leave a voice message for Aneesh Chaganty, our next guest, or tell us the ‘so bad it’s good’ film you’ve been rewatching in isolation for an upcoming episode.
We recorded this episode as the news of George Floyd’s death by police brutality was emerging, and held it back in order to amplify Black voices and stories. Racism has no place on Letterboxd. Here are some ideas for activism; here are more; and more. We are donating all proceeds from screenings of Josephine Decker’s Shirley via our virtual screening link (available to US members only) to BIPOC film non-profit Firelight Media. Black Lives Matter.
This episode is dedicated to films about the Black experience. Our guest is Letterboxd member Adam Davie, creator of the extensive Black Life on Film list. Adam explains why he has spent three years creating the list and why it includes “the good, the bad and the ugly as it relates to the Black experience”.
Driving Miss Daisy (Bruce Beresford, 1989)
The Story of a Three-Day Pass (Melvin Van Peebles, 1968)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Rodney Rothman/Peter Ramsey/Bob Persichetti, 2018)
Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989)
I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck, 2016)
13th (Ava DuVernay, 2016)
Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)
LA 92 (T.J. Martin/Daniel Lindsay, 2017)
Support The Girls (Andrew Bujalski, 2018)
The High Note (Nisha Ganatra, 2020)
Beyond the Lights (Gina Prince-Bythewood, 2014)
The Wound (John Trengove, 2017)
Rafiki (Wanuri Kahiu, 2018)
Attack the Block (Joe Cornish, 2011)
I Am Legend (Francis Lawrence, 2007)
If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins, 2017)
Black Dynamite (Scott Sanders, 2009)
Miami Connection (Y.K. Kim/Woo-sang Park, 1987)
This episode was recorded in Pittsburgh, PA and Auckland, NZ and edited by Morgan Avery. Our podcast artwork is by Ann Davenport and our theme music is ‘Hitchcock’ by The Phoenix Foundation. Leave a voice message telling us your favorite Studio Ghibli film, or a ‘so bad it’s good’ film you’ve been rewatching in isolation for our upcoming episodes.
Listeners in the US can watch Josephine Decker’s Shirley via our virtual screening room—we’re donating all proceeds to film non-profit Firelight Media. For other links, resources and places to donate in the fight for justice, here are some anti-racism resources for white people. This Letterboxd review of I Am Not Your Negro also contains useful links. Black Lives Matter.
Our cast of Steven Spielberg fans somehow manage to find new things to say about the films of the highest-grossing director of all time, and marvel at how his movies feel more potent than ever in the time of coronavirus. Guests: Chris Evangelista from SlashFilm’s 21st Century Spielberg podcast, comedian/writer Gabriel Gundacker of “I Wanna meet Richard Dreyfuss” fame, and Letterboxd’s West Coast editor Dominic Corry.
Steven Spielberg’s filmography.
1993: a big year for Spielberg, as chronicled by Ed Power in The Independent.
Watch the moment Spielberg is not nominated for a Best Director Oscar for Jaws.
Susan Lacy’s 2017 Spielberg documentary.
Spielberg at Cannes in 1975.
Composer John Williams (and Rolling Stone film critic David Fear on his work in Catch Me if You Can).
The Spielberg Quarantine Challenge:
A.I. Artificial Intelligence (Dominic)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (Gabriel)
The Indiana Jones box set (Gemma)
The Last Days of Disco (Dominic)
The Rocketeer (Chris)
Blazing Saddles (Gabriel)
The Muppet Movie (Gemma)
Filmmakers on the Internet:
Vulture’s conversations with directors in insolation, including Reuben Ostland and Claire Denis (Gemma)
Mary Neely (Dominic)
Settling the Score podcast (Gabriel)
SlashFilm’s Quarantine Stream (Chris)
Recorded in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Auckland. Edited by Morgan Avery. Podcast artwork by Ann Davenport. Theme music: ‘Hitchcock’ by The Phoenix Foundation. Leave a voice message telling us your favorite quarantine rewatch for our next episode (don’t forget to introduce yourself and please record in a quiet place too).
Has lockdown got you thirsty? This is the episode you need. Inspired by film writer Justine Peres Smith’s popular ‘Best Horny Movies for Quarantine’ list, Letterboxd editor Gemma Gracewood, Montreal-based Smith, and The Black List’s Kate Hagen dive deep into several erotic thrillers from the past two decades: Jane Campion’s In The Cut, Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden and Yann Gonzalez’s Knife + Heart. And we ask: where’s all the hot sex in Western film these days? Plus: Cronenberg, PTA, Roeg, Marilyn Monroe and more.
Kate’s Essential Erotic Thrillers and 365 Sex Scenes
The Black List
In The Cut
Justine’s 2018 re-examination of In The Cut for Little White Lies
God’s Own Country
Knife + Heart
Don't Look Now
Kate’s Playboy article
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Justine)
Peggy Sue Got Married (Kate)
Filmmakers on social:
K. Austin Collins’ Shut-in Movie Club and Letterboxd profile (Justine)
Vidiots and video stores everywhere (Kate)
Joss Ackland’s #ReadaLetter (Gemma)
Edited by Morgan Avery. Podcast artwork by Ann Davenport. Theme music: ‘Hitchcock’ by The Phoenix Foundation. Leave a voice message telling us your favorite Steven Spielberg film for our next episode.
Nostalgic for recent life, Letterboxd editor Gemma Gracewood, our West Coast editor Dominic Corry and New York-based freelance film critic Susannah Gruder celebrate movies set in big cities while we stay home to save lives. We discuss how directors like Michael Mann, Susan Seidelman and Richard Linklater move through cityscapes, and we see New York through newcomers’ eyes in Eliza Hittman’s stunning new film.
P.S. Join our L.A. Showdown: nominate your favorite films set in the City of Angels.
City films for empty streets:
Vanilla Sky, The Quiet Earth and Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen
Desperately Seeking Susan
Never Rarely Sometimes Always
The Omega Man, Woodstock
Light Sleeper, Three Days of the Condor
Bright Wall/Dark Room’s list of obscure recommendations
Babylon incl. the engagement-party scene
Art House Online
Frederico Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria and Bob Fosse’s Sweet Charity (Susannah)
Robert Zemeckis’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief (Dominic)
Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights (Gemma)
Filmmakers on the Internet:
Ritesh Batra’s scriptwriting chats (Gemma)
ScriptNotes podcast with John August and Craig Mazin, including this live episode (Dominic)
Love from BAM Netflix parties, Lou Doillon’s Instagram feed (Susannah)
Edited by Morgan Avery. Podcast artwork by Ann Davenport. Leave a voice message telling us your favorite erotic thrillers for the next episode.
Locked down and looking for comfort, Letterboxd editor Gemma Gracewood, London-based film and music writer Ella Kemp and LA-based musician and writer Demi Adejuyigbe explore why Paddington Bear, Donald O’Connor and Talking Heads are deeply uplifting in these strange times, nominate their favorite actors-doing-things-on-the-internet, and find film-watching solutions to the attention-span issues that come with staying home.
Pixar director recommendations for children:
7 to 12 Years
12 Years and Over
The Letterboxd Feel-Good Showdown
Our interview with Paddington and Paddington 2 writer-director Paul King
Edgar Wright’s 100 favorite comedies
Rian Johnson’s favorite 70s movie musicals
Bright Wall/Dark Room’s crowd-sourced list of most obscure movie recommendations. Our panel’s picks:
The Castle (Demi)
Wham! in China: Foreign Skies (Gemma)
Patrick Stewart’s Sonnets
Sam Neill’s therapeutic Twitter and Instagram feeds
Demi’s food-bank donation drive
Richard E. Grant on Twitter
Art House Online—help us support art house cinemas by renting these new, recent and re-released films, and read Ella’s interview with Levan Akin, director of And Then We Danced
The panel’s feel-good picks for this week:
Donald O’Connor’s ‘Make ’em Laugh’ dance sequence from Singin’ in the Rain (Gemma)
Stop Making Sense (1984), Jonathan Demme’s Talking Heads film (Demi)
The Shop Around the Corner (1940) (Ella)
This podcast was recorded in Los Angeles, London and Auckland and edited by Morgan Avery. Our podcast artwork is by Ann Davenport. Leave a voice message telling us your favorite films set in big cities for our next episode, in which our West Coast editor Dominic Corry and New York correspondent Susannah Gruder will remember the recent past through movies.
A panel discussion ahead of the 2020 Oscars, hosted by Letterboxd editor Gemma Gracewood with guests Kate Hagen, Demi Adejuyigbe and Dominic Corry. We revisit our favorite films of 2019, figure out why we still love the Oscars, award some additional trophies, and talk maybe a little too much about Portrait of a Lady on Fire.
Letterboxd’s downloadable Oscars Ballot: JPEG or PDF
Letterboxd 2019 Year in Review
2020 Oscars — All nominated films
2019–2020 awards season winners
The best years for Best Picture nominees, ranked (thanks to Jack Moulton)
Kate Hagen’s list of Essential Erotic Thrillers
Demi Adejuyigbe’s lists of Movies whose full titles can be perfectly sung to the rhythm and cadence of “Moon River, wider than a mile” and Movies whose entire titles can be comfortably sung to the tune and rhythm of “Little Red Corvette”
Dominic Corry’s lists of Yuppies in Peril and Films that Poetically Capture the Experience of Living in Los Angeles
Ford v Ferrari (aka Le Mans ’66): What really happened at the end?
Watch: Anna Paquin wins Best Supporting Actress at the 66th Academy Awards, hyperventilates for 22 seconds straight
Watch: La La Land, sorry Moonlight wins Best Picture
Letterboxd’s Top 10 Sundance 2020 World Premieres