Movies On The Radio

Marsha Gordon and Laura Boyes.
Credit Ben McKeown / For

"Movies on the Radio" is a series of conversations about the silver screen from The State of Things.

Listeners provide feedback about their favorites and least favorites. Then, Frank Stasio and film experts Laura Boyes and Marsha Gordon take an in-depth look at what moves us at the movies.

Laura Boyes is a film curator at the North Carolina Museum of Art and Marsha Gordon is a film professor at North Carolina State University.

The next episode of the series airs Wednesday, Aug. 22.  We want to know: If you could live in any cinematic world which would it be? The magical halls of Hogwarts? The cyberpunk universe of The Matrix? Email us at sot@wunc.org or tweet at us with #SOTMovie.

oil painting of Girl with a Pearl Earring
Johannes Vermeer

Jackson Pollock, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Frida Kahlo: all had rich stories to match their art. And those stories were further dramatized in the aptly-named Hollywood films “Pollock,” “Basquiat,” and “Frida.”

Warner Bros

The best filmmakers can craft a world so vivid viewers can imagine themselves living alongside the characters. Through intricate sets, or the magic of animation, cinema becomes America’s dream machine. 

Touchstone Pictures

Good cinema takes you out of your living room and transports you miles, eons, and even worlds away. And like a good book, the best films can leave you with a deep desire to meet those characters, or even live life for a day in their magical worlds. Think about living out supernatural fantasies within the walls of Hogwarts, hunting an elusive jaguar shark alongside your quirky buddies in a Wes Anderson film, or dodging bullets as a super-human cybercriminal in “The Matrix.”

 

Promotional photo from 1937 screwball comedy 'The Awful Truth' starring actors Irene Dunne and Cary Grant. The actors face away from each other and the scruffy actor dog sits between them.
Columbia Pictures

Film Curator Laura Boyes is a sucker for old romantic movies. But digging for gems from the golden age of cinema also tends to turn up sexist tropes: the two-dimensional secretary, naive blonde and women who flounder without significant male help.

Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in 'Roman Holiday'
Classic Film / Flickr - Creative Commons -https://flic.kr/p/VkLRWH

Vacation movies may show off some of the world’s most beautiful scenery, but the most compelling films are the ones that show characters another side of themselves. Take a protagonist out of her usual environment and anything can happen.

Julie Scott / Wikimedia Commons

Tommy Wiseau’s film “The Room” is a textbook example of a cult movie. It made less than $2000 when it first opened in Los Angeles in 2003, got terrible reviews, and is dubbed by some the “Citizen Kane of bad movies.” Yet years later it became a huge hit.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show on a theater marquee.
Mark Miller (CC-BY-SA)

 

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” spurred one of the biggest cult movies phenomenons. But the sci-fi musical mashup did not impress at the box office when it opened in 1975. In fact, a Halloween show in New York City and a national rollout of the film was canceled due to terrible reviews. Decades later, the film has been running continuously in movie theaters for longer than any other movie — with many of the showings happening at midnight on weekends.

A promotional poster for the 1959 Douglas Sirk film 'Imitation of Life'
Reynold Brown

This year US consumers are estimated to have spent an average of $180 each for Mother’s Day, according to the National Retail Federation. This month Movies on the Radio gives moms a tribute money can not buy with a show devoted to mothers.

still photo from the film, picturing welles seated at a table and coulouris gesturing with a newspaper
Public Domain

Some films get nothing but love from the critics. They garner five stars, win awards, and spark endless think pieces. But do audiences actually like them? On Movies on the Radio host Frank Stasio speaks with film experts Marsha Gordon, a film professor at North Carolina State University, and Laura Boyes, film curator for the North Carolina Museum of Art, about listener picks for most overrated films.

a picture of young Joan Crawford
From The Last of Mrs. Cheyney trailer

While we're celebrating mothers this month, why not honor the most memorable moms in cinema history?  Who can forget Faye Dunaway's portrayal of Joan Crawford as an abusive tyrant in "Mommie Dearest." 

a still of Tom Hanks from the movie Forrest Gump
Paramount Pictures

The credits roll on the beloved, critically-acclaimed film you just watched, but, you aren't impressed. Confused thoughts flash through your head. Are you out of touch, or missing something? Finally, you settle on the most gratifying option: this movie is just overrated.

photo of sally field and barbara baxley in 'norma rae'
20th Century Fox

For years, critics have contended that Hollywood films leave a lot to be desired when it comes to female representation. Analyses such as the Bechdel test suggest that too often the male-dominated screenwriting world puts women in passive, one-dimensional roles.

20TH CENTURY FOX | DIGITALSPY.COM

Enough with the damsels in distress. For the next installment of Movies On The Radio, we're looking for ladies who pushed the boundaries of what it means to be a woman on the big screen. We're talking smart, strong, three-dimensional characters who can save themselves, thank you very much.

Child actress Shirley Temple in 'Poor Little Rich Girl.'
classic_film (Creative Commons)

Child actors are big players in Hollywood. Shirley Temple is one of the most famous, with 17 feature films under her belt before she turned 10. There are several film stars today who began their acting careers when they were children, like Natalie Portman and Christian Bale.

Child actress Shirley Temple in 'Poor Little Rich Girl.'
classic_film (Creative Commons)

Everyone is familiar with famous child actress Shirley Temple. But there are a lot of other child actors in Hollywood, and there are many movies where the kid steals the show. In the next installment of Movies on the Radio, we're talking about movies featuring child stars.

WARNER BROS. PICTURES

Countless films have used money as a central theme throughout the years, from the 1924 silent film “Greed” to recent hits that explore the 2008 financial crisis, like “Margin Call” and “The Big Short.”

MALIZ ONG / PESO BILLS

They say money makes the world go 'round. We think it also makes for some great films. In this installment of Movies on the Radio, we're taking a look at movies about cold, hard cash.

Main character from 'Get Out' in 'sinking' scene
BagoGames / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/SEjzLj

2017 was a big year for new movie releases, but film experts Marsha Gordon and Laura Boyes managed to narrow down their lists of favorites to share.

Selections include “Kedi,” a documentary about the cats of Istanbul, Netflix original “Mudbound,” about two sharecropping families, and the box office-crushing release of “Wonder Woman.”

Host Frank Stasio talks with Marsha Gordon, film professor at North Carolina State University, and Laura Boyes, film curator at the North Carolina Museum of Art, about 2017 movies of note. 

Still from 'Lady and the Tramp'
Cozinhando Fantasias / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/kELGJv

Animation has come a long way, from the hand-painted drawings of The Walt Disney Company’s 1937 feature film “Snow White” to today’s dazzling computer-generated imagery. 

Movies On The Radio: The Magic of Animation

Nov 16, 2017
A screenshot from Disney's 1937 film Snow White shows Snow White surrounded by forest creatures.
Insomnia Cured Here / Flickr/Creative Commons

Who would have thought that a distracted mouse piloting a steamboat could usher in a whole new genre of film? But Mickey Mouse’s famous appearance gave momentum to animator Walt Disney and opened up a universe of movie magic that seems to increase in technical complexity each decade. 

Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz
Insomnia Cured Here / Flickr - Creative Commons -https://flic.kr/p/5GMFkD

Magical beings on the silver screen take audiences on a journey into worlds that only exist in their imagination. They fly, cast spells, play tricks, and blur the line between the real and the fantastic. For many years Hollywood treated witchcraft and magic as mostly bad things, but over time some supernatural powers have earned a better reputation. 

Publicity still from the 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz
Publicity Image MGM film The Wizard of Oz / Wikimedia Commons

They wander the halls of Hogwarts, tempt children into sugar-encrusted homes, and sometimes get crushed by a flying farmhouse.

The mystique of the witches, wizards and warlocks continues to capture the imagination of moviegoers. And their presence in earthly and magical realms reminds viewers that things are not always as they seem.

CollegeDegrees360 / Flickr/Creative Commons

There are two kinds of people in this world. The Ferris Beullers, who grin at the thought of a wild day playing hooky. And the Jeanie Buellers, whose eyes gleam at the thought of turning them in. 

 Which one were you during those formative school days? Were you the good-girl Sandra Dee from “Grease?” Or perpetually in detention like John Bender in “The Breakfast Club?” Did you rain torment on your peers a la Regina George in “Mean Girls?” Or pledge allegiance to a passionate teacher like John Keating in “Dead Poets Society?”

Image of two best friends
Flickr/ Stuart Seeger

Best friends are the constant in many people's lives. They rescue each other when a car breaks down. They join go on late-night quests for fast food. And they console and support each other in a time of need. The relationships of best friends have been fodder for movie plot lines for decades and exist in all genres.

Movies On The Radio: Vacation Time

Jun 28, 2017
Reza Vaziri/Flickr-Creative Commons

Pack your bags people. It’s summer, and you know what that means: Vacation time! 

 Do you vicariously sip sangria through watching Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” or  practice your moves along with Baby in “Dirty Dancing?” Do you re-live the dog days of summers past with the gang in “The Sandlot?” 

 Maybe nothing reminds you of how good you have it now like cringing over the Griswalds’ family road trip to Wally World. 

 Gal Gadot arrives at the world premiere of "Wonder Woman" in Los Angeles.
Jordan Strauss/Invision / AP - 2017

Superheroes have captured the American imagination since the 1930s. Characters including Superman, Batman and Spiderman represented men of strength and moral fiber who inspired as they fought the forces of evil. It was an easy jump to the silver screen, where today, multiple superhero films are released every year, blowing up box office records as often as they do the bad guys.


Movies On The Radio: Superhero Films That Dominated

Jun 1, 2017

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s… a superhero movie! The summer blockbuster lineup isn’t complete without one. But which Superhero flicks have filled you with admiration, and which have made you wish you had the power to turn back time?

Movies on the Radio
Keith Weston / WUNC

Film remakes can introduce a beloved film to a new audience or take a mediocre movie to a new level of greatness. But when a remake is badly executed, it can butcher a cherished classic. On this edition of “Movies on the Radio,” film experts Marsha Gordon and Laura Boyes pick apart the artistry of a remake.

arianta / Flickr

A well-executed remake film can bring a beloved story to a fresh audience. But when a remake is done wrong, it can leave faithful viewers cringing.

For the next Movies On The Radio, The State of Things wants to know what are the best and worst remake films? 

Joe Wolf / Flickr Creative Commons

Dystopian films take viewers to cities in the sky and barren, post-apocalyptic landscapes. They explore futuristic universes while also tapping into the darker side of the human condition. 

In this episode of "Movies on the Radio," listeners discuss their favorite dystopian films. Host Frank Stasio talks with experts Marsha Gordon, film professor at North Carolina State University, and Laura Boyes, film curator at the North Carolina Museum of Art, about how dystopian art emerges from societal reaction to politics and government.

Laura Boyes will host a screening of the 1930 Film "King of Jazz" at Friday, April 21 at 8 p.m. at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. 

And on May 5, you can catch Marsha Gordon at a special screening of The Big Red One at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh. 

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