I May Destroy You
Season 1, Ep. 68
I May Destroy You, the new series created by and starring Michaela Coel, probably will destroy you. It's about consent, double standards, and justice—and that's just the start.Also: Tim misremembered the college that helped pioneer the "yes means yes" standard of consent. It was Antioch.
Do the Right Thing
Season 1, Ep. 67
Today’s episode revisits the 1989 classic that put Spike Lee on the map, Do the Right Thing. Over 30 years later, the film’s raw depiction of racial relations in Bedstuy remains controversial - every group feels aggrieved, lashing out with both words and actions. By the time the film is over, one could make a strong case that no one did the right thing. The bubbling tension under the surface during the hottest day of the summer explodes into a riot that feels unavoidable once 911 is dialed.Lee refused the urge to give the audience simple good versus bad character depictions. Singular characters act on their righteous impulses but are often guided by misplaced, unspoken misunderstandings. By the time Mookie throws the trash can through Sal’s pizzeria, his actions are about more than simply the death of Radio Rahim. The audience is given several reasons Mookie could be at the end of his rope with Sal and his family from Pino’s liberal use of the n-word to Sal’s supposed flirtation with his sister - Mookie’s frustration is macro and micro, legitimate and illegitimate.Although Do the Right Thing takes place almost entirely on one neighborhood block in 1989, it represented situations happening nationwide. Gentrifying neighbors and passersbys still have the same tense interactions with the black and brown youth today.. No wonder the film continues to resonate in the summer of 2020 as Black Lives Matter protests continue.Do the Right Thing is available for rent today on several streaming platforms.Episode Breakdown0:48 - Where did ‘Sweet Dick Willy’ get his name from?1:50 - Themes echoing in the modern day5:05 - Is Mookie a passive character?11:36 - Does anyone do the right thing?16:50 - Radio Rahim’s intimidating presence and killing21:00 - Real life police brutality comparisons23:15 - The shock of police brutality, camera phones, and Black Lives Matter31:40 - Mookie’s future and parenting in the film35:50 - Closing thoughts
Would You Go to a Movie Theater Now?
Season 1, Ep. 66
A simple question: Would you go to a movie theater now? Your hosts weigh in from three distinct states with three distinct COVID-19 situations: Texas (Keith), Tennessee (Aaron) and Massachusetts (Tim).We also get into whether our minds would change if Tenet were playing.And there are questions about COVID-19 etiquette, whether the theatrical experience can ever be reproduced at home, and why contact tracing is difficult for strip club patrons.
Da 5 Bloods and Cross-Generational Trauma
Season 1, Ep. 65
Today’s episode covers Spike Lee’s new film Da 5 Bloods which follows four black GIs returning to Vietnam nearly five decades after their tours ended to recover gold and the remains of their former captain. Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned and chaos ensues.The film releases with impeccable timing as the nation continues to grapple with social unrest in present day. The war scenes take place during 1968’s “Summer of Love” when all Hell broke loose for Black Americans after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Lee uses that eerie parallel to show that things have not changed as much as would like to believe.Da 5 Bloods is available now on Netflix.Episode breakdown, with timestamps:0:42 - Initial thoughts4:46 - Themes and the leading character, Paul as played by Delroy Lindo10:10 - Vietnam War footage and previous Hollywood war films16:22 - What is the purpose of the gold?19:30 - The ‘mythic’ Stormin’ Norman, ‘Black rage’ in 2020, and Black Lives Matter25:00 - Dodging the Vietnam War26:50 - Character arcs for the the Black GIs36:20 - The choice not to de-age characters during Vietnam War scenes42:10 - Additional strengths and weaknesses of the film44:16 - Stormin’ Norman’s fate51:15 - Give Delroy Lindo all the awards
'Just Mercy' and Just Policing
Season 1, Ep. 64
Just Mercy, starring Michael B. Jordan as a lawyer who defends a wrongly accused death-row inmate played by Jamie Foxx, is one of many films made available for free in response to the Black Lives Matter protests nationwide. In the latestLow Keypodcast, we talk about what the film gets right about racist policing, and what changes we'd like to see in real life.The discussion of the movie leads to some comparisons of our own interactions with police. Would you believe your two black co-hosts and one white co-host have had very different experiences? Note the extremely long silence when Keith asks Tim at the 34:13 mark in the podcast if a cop has ever walked up to him and asked for ID for no reason.
The Justice League Snyder Cut (feat. Sam from the Sam Said It podcast)
Season 1, Ep. 63
The nerd nightmare is over: the badgering has paid off, and the Synder Cut of the DC Extended Universe’sJustice Leaguewill be released as an HBO Max exclusive sometime in 2021.In the latestLow Key Podcast, we talk about what it all means, and what we want from the Snyder Cut. And great news: This episode features Sam from the Sam Said It! podcast.The corporate overlords have bowed to the overbeating might of tweets and petitions to remake the underwhelming November 2017 release into Zack Snyder’s intended glory. The remake will be released as either a four-hour epic film or a six-episode miniseries with enhanced CGI, new character designs, and additional scenes to flesh out the story. This is the sort of thing that would normally only happen in a comic book and yet here we are.So how did this happen? A group of executives from HBO, Warner Brothers, and DC decided to move forward with the project after viewing an unfinished version of the Synder Cut back in early February 2020.This cut was based on post production work by Snyder that was unfinished when the director had to step away because of a family tragedy. The film was later completed by Joss Whedon and, understandably, had some mixed issues with tone and plot that audiences didn’t enjoy.Despite grossing $658 million worldwide, it is considered a missed opportunity by avid comic book fans, casual viewers and business people alike. The Synder Cut could alleviate some of the issues aroundJustice Leagueand become a huge part of HBO Max’s arsenal as the streaming wars continue to heat up.This episode of the Low Key pod features special guest Mr. Sam P of theSam Said Itpodcast (please check him out!) and follow us onInstagram.1:00:Sam Returns!1:42:Wearing a mask during COVID-19 pandemic in Texas and Tennessee5:00:Timeline ofJustice Leagueand the Synder Cut8:30:Why did audiences not gravitate to theJustice Leaguetheatrical release?11:15:Limitations of the current DCEU compared to the CW Arrowverse15:22:The problem with creating the Snyder Cut and the R-ratedBatman v. Superman.18:10:Why is the Snyder Cut happening?21:50:Superman’s insane power level in Justice League24:00:How the DCEU attempted to mimic MCU’s apocalyptic prophecy and hero relationships.30:20:DCEU standalone films work better than the team movie.33:36:“Marvel doesn’t make superhero movies”38:18:DCEU and latest Star Wars trilogy had no plan41:20:Should fan criticism lead to massive changes for a franchise’s direction? (listen to this episode of the Movie Maker podcastto hear from the director about changes to Sonic the Hedgehog based on fan feedback)44:36:Examples of screenings leading to a different final cut.46:45:Changes to other mediums after a final release (video games, music, etc.)48:06:Is a four-hour Synder cut too long?
62. Why Murder to Mercy is a Netflix Doc Worth Watching
Season 1, Ep. 62
Netflix does not shy away from distributing stories that give voices to the voiceless - the recently released documentary Murder to Mercy is no exception. The doc shares the story of Cyntoia Brown, a woman who was sentenced to prison for life at the age of 16 for killing a man when she was being sex trafficked at the Nashville, Tennessee area in 2004. Brown told police that she feared for her life and shot the man with a gun inside the house when she believed he was going to violently attack. Fifteen years later, she was granted clemency by the state governor and now works as works as an advocate for helping vulnerable young people who are survivors of sex trafficking.The film contains footage from initial arrest up until her release from prison which demonstrates a positive example of what’s possible when rehabilitation resources are available. On the other side of the coin, interviews with the women in her biological family are present, each of whom are survivors of sexual abuse by men in their lives whom they trusted. The generational trauma experienced by each of these women is given room to be explored and considered without a political bend which undoubtedly will bother some critics and viewers.A takeaway that hopefully hits home is that more can be done to help create more accountability from how the justice system responds to the issues of domestic abuse and sex trafficking. The lawyers who fought to secure Brown’s clemency mentioned that the case was having an impact on both a domestic and global scale. Stories like these are difficult to watch but they are worth our engagement given their common occurrence. Give the Low Key podcast a listen for our full thoughts.Murder and Mercy is available on Netflix now.
How Pepe the Frog Became the Mascot of Trolls, Racists and Incels
Season 1, Ep. 61
The new documentaryFeels Good Manexplores how racists, trolls and incels turned an innocuous cartoon character named Pepe the Frog into a symbol of hate. On the latestLow Keypodcast, we talk about how the situation epitomizes many of the problems of the internet, where misinformation and propaganda choke out facts and helpful information.Feels Good Man, directed by Arthur Jones, goes deep into the backstory of Pepe. Once he was a simple creature drawn by artist Matt Furie, known by the dorky catchphrase "Feels good man," which Pepe used to explain why he pees with his pants down.The document shows how this innocuous creature was soon embraced by a depressing online community of do-littles who identify as "NEET" — an abbreviation for "not in education, employment, or training."When "normies" — including women — invaded their world by starting to embrace Pepe, the social outcasts rebelled, trying to make Pepe as repugnant as possible by affiliating him with Nazism, misogyny, and other repellant ideologies.To Furie's dismay, Pepe and hate soon became inseparable.
The Midnight Gospel Might Be the Near-Future of TV
Season 1, Ep. 60
Netflix's trippy The Midnight Gospel, from comedian Duncan Trussell and animator Pendleton Ward, might be a model for pandemic era TV shows: It asks the big questions in life without requiring any actors to get too close to each other.The series is about a scamp named Clancy Gilroy (voiced by Trussell), who uses a butt-shaped simulator to travel to different worlds and interview people for his "spacecast," which is basically a podcast, about questions like what happens when we die, why death is so essential to life, and what it means to be enlightened. You can appreciate it for the deep, philosophical conversations Trussell has with the other beings he encounters (voiced by guests as varied as Dr. Drew Pinsky, Damien Echols, Anne Lamott and Ram Dass), or you can enjoy the insane animated shenanigans, such as the zombie war in the first episode. Or you can enjoy both. The show mixes high and low.Its formula — interesting conversations brought to vivid life through animation — seems like a very intriguing answer to the question of how to make a TV show at a time when so many of us are in quarantine. Innovative moviemakers could easily script and voice their stories separately, and then unite them through animation.Does The Midnight Gospel work? We discuss. But there's no question it's thought provoking — The Midnight Gospel inspired us to think about real v. simulated reality, and our tendency toward self-destructiveness. By the end of the episode we've covered everything from Animal Crossing to the Michael Jordan doc The Last Dance to, of course, COVID-19. Stick your head in the simulator and join us.