Share

cover art for 1984 with Matt Singer

A Very Good Year

1984 with Matt Singer

Ep. 50

Matt Singer is a film critic, entertainment journalist, and author — and his latest book is a real treat for all you nerds who listen to this nerdy show. “Opposable Thumbs: How Siskel & Ebert Changed Movies Forever” is a combination of dual biography, media history, and film commentary, so he joins us to talk about his love for Siskel & Ebert, and how it led him to this book. And they were active during his year of choice, 1984, so Matt not only shares his thoughts on his top five, but Gene & Roger’s as well. 

More episodes

View all episodes

  • 59. 1978 with Katie Rife

    01:10:16
    The whip-smart and hysterically funny Katie Rife joins us to talk about the movies of 1978 — from the terrifying precision to “Halloween” to the sweaty muscularity of “The 36th Chamber of Shaolin” to the impeccable formalism of “Les Rendez-vous d’Anna” — and why ‘70s genre cinema holds up so well. 
  • 58. 1970 with Blake Howard

    01:12:18
    Our Aussie invasion continues with this week’s guest, film critic and podcaster extraordinaire, Blake Howard, the mastermind of One Heat Minute Productions. Blake joins us to talk about unhealthy relationships with movies and his love for the films of 1970, from the gallows humor of “M*A*S*H” to the working class heroism of “Five Easy Pieces” to the unequalled cool (and Frenchness) of “Le Cercle Rouge.” 
  • 57. 1992 with Sam Adams

    01:06:35
    Sam Adams, writer and senior editor for Slate, was in the midst of his cinephile awakening in 1992, when he was taking in new indies and other risky delights at the SoNo Cinema. Join us as we walk through the vérité discomforts of “Husbands and Wives,” the radical queer art of “Edward II,” the biting-the-hand-that-feeds-you brilliance of “The Player,” and more.
  • 56. 1971 with Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

    01:13:37
    Film critic, author, “Fangoria” columnist, physical media mainstay, and recovering academic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas joins us for a jaunt through the dark laughs of “Little Murders” and “A New Leaf,” the knotty gender politics of “Straw Dogs,” and more of the disturbances and pleasures of 1971. 
  • 55. 1999 with Brian Raftery

    01:08:00
    Brian Raftery is the host of the excellent narrative podcasts “Gene and Roger and Do We Get to Win This Time? for the Ringer and Spotify; he’s also SUCH an expert on the movies of 1999, he wrote an entire book about them: the wonderful “Best. Movie. Year. Ever: How 1999 Blew Up the Big Screen.” He joins us to talk about why “Election” still hits, why “Eyes Wide Shut” has had such a wild afterlife, how “Blair Witch” is somehow underrated, and much more. 
  • 54. 1988 with Jen Johans

    01:04:19
    We're talking about movies during the quiet time with the host of "Watch with Jen" and (relevant to our interests here) the co-host of "Midnight Run-Through," Film Intuition's Jen Johans. She's joining us to discuss the formative year of 1988, when her frequent babysitting gigs were highlighted by stacks of such VHS favorites as "Bull Durham" and "A Fish Called Wanda." Plus, BOGOSIAN!
  • 53. 1973 with Brian Saur

    01:07:15
    For season two, we’re wiping the slate clean and letting our guests pick any year they want, even if we covered it in season one. So first up, the very knowledgable and extremely affable host of the wonderful “Just the Discs” podcast, and the co-host of our beloved (and influential) “Pure Cinema Podcast” joins us to discuss the lovable losers of “Scarecrow,” the fast friends of “The Last Detail,” the witty whodunit “The Last of Sheila,” and more of the movies of 1973.
  • Janet & John Pierson's Very Good Year (in Fiji!)

    01:19:50
    For the first of our hiatus bonus episodes, we’re proud to welcome back one of the season’s most popular guests: indie guru John Pierson, who joined us back in April to talk about 1989. When we were discussing his appearance, he proposed talking about the year that he and his family spent a year operating the 180 Meridian Cinema, the most remote movie theater in the world. At this 288-seat venue on Tavueni Island in Fiji, the Piersons programmed a full year of programming, mostly new releases, as free nightly movies; the last month of that year was documented in the film Reel Paradise, directed by Steve James of “Hoop Dreams” fame. We are also joined by John’s wife Janet Pierson, an equally legendary figure on the indie film scene, thanks to her 15 years overseeing the vision, programming, and execution of the SXSW Film Festival. If you’d like to know more about their time in Tavueni, here’s a summary, in the Los Angeles Times, from right before the release of Reel Paradise..John also wrote two pieces for that publication about their time there, one in July of 2002, another that December.Thanks for listening!
  • Bonus Episode - 2023 with Alissa Wilkinson

    01:08:33
    Since she last joined us to talk about 2005 back in September, Alissa Wilkinson nabbed a new gig: she’s now a movie critic for the New York Times. So she joins us to talk about that transition and the films of the year that just ended – our favorites of ‘23, for starters, as well as some of the (mostly heartening) trends we’ve seen in moviemaking and moviegoing this year.