Substandard Show Notes‐‐Episode 1.28

Endnotes and digressions from the latest show:

* We opened the show with Grill Talk and somehow, Sonny is ignorant about the advantages of infrared grilling. Brief primer here and here and here. It’s just the best. Science.

* From there we moved on to an appreciation of Powers Boothe. Sonny wrote an obituary for him earlier in the week. It’s pretty good. Almost as good as “Well . . . bye.”

* I still have no idea who John Taffer is and remain confirmed in the view that the presence of a cult of broadcast media around the process of eating and drinking is a sign of late-stage capitalist decadence. The end is nigh.

* Let’s get to the real issue: King Arthur.

Sonny has now gone after this movie three times—in a review, on the show, and in his not-definitive ranking of Guy Ritchie films. I don’t get this.

I really don’t.

As I said on the show, it’s not a perfect movie. It’s not even a great movie. I don’t disagree that there are a handful of editing problems and that half the time Charlie Hunnam is underwhelming. (Though the other half of the time, he’s very good.)

But despite its problems, Chav Arthur is an interesting movie. It has an idea at its core. It’s written cleanly, with full acts and a minimum of movie logic. The main characters have clearly-defined arcs. For the most part, Ritchie is showing, not telling. It builds a rich, lived-in universe. It has interesting design. It’s filled with off-speed performances. If nothing else, this is a movie with both intelligence and ambition.

Even if you think it doesn’t ultimately work, I cannot for the life of me understand how people go from “interesting failure” to Worst. Movie. Ever.

* I like Guy Ritchie. He’s not a Martin Scorsese-level film deity, of course. But he’s an interesting director. When he has his fastball, he makes very good movies. When his control is shaky, he makes interesting failures. I don’t think you can ask for much more from a director.

* Victorino mentioned the short that Ritchie directed for BMW. Here it is. It really is pretty great. The only problem is Madonna.

* The one thing we didn’t get to during the show is how Madonna more or less Yoko Ono-ed Ritchie’s career. For starters, she is awful in that BMW short.

But if Madonna wants to embarrass herself onscreen, that’s her business. I don’t begrudge her the work. What I do begrudge is how she insisted on tanking her then-husband’s directing career in an effort to embarrass herself onscreen. During the eight years of their marriage, Ritchie made one good movie (Rocknrolla) and four Madonna-centric pieces of garbage.

* As always, you can download the episode here and subscribe to the Substandard on iTunes or on Google Play.

Go give us a five-star review! Or, more importantly, go out and see Chav Arthur. It’s a minor masterpiece.

This post originally appeared on Weekly Standard

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