Movies On The Radio

Marsha Gordon and Laura Boyes in studio with State of Things Host Frank Stasio.
Credit Ben McKeown / For WUNC

"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.

A white man looking downwards into the camera. The white man has a white beard and round, black glasses on. He has a stern look on his face
Frank Stasio

What movie is the top of the list for a Buffalo-born, Durham-residing, grandchild-adoring talk show host? For host Frank Stasio’s grand “Movies on the Radio” finale, listeners have submitted their guesses. Is Frank a fan of car chases and cheap beer? Then it might be “Smokey and the Bandit.”

Movies On The Radio: Frank's Favorite Film

Nov 5, 2020
A close up photo of State of Things host Frank Stasio. He wears glasses, and half of his face is in shadow behind a wooden cutout.
Frank Stasio

Frank Stasio will join film experts Marsha Gordon and Laura Boyes one last time this November for his Movies on the Radio finale.

So we’re having a contest...can you guess Frank’s favorite film? It might be "Buffalo '66." Or perhaps it’s "Radio Flyer." 

We’ll reveal the answer later this month. Send your best guess to sot@wunc.org, or leave us a voicemail at 919-980-5419.

Laughing manically toward the left, Lanchester sports a massive beehive hair-do with squiggly white strands on the side.
John J. Mescall / Universal Pictures

It is the season of undead film franchises. You can catch plenty of reboots and movie series in which they had to swap out the lead actor after a decade of sequels. While some series recycle the first film’s formula, others break the mold.

Warner Bros. Pictures

Were you horrified by the follow-up to your favorite movie? Or maybe they switched up the entire cast and the next one was actually an improvement. And then there are the franchises that they just keep milking. The sequels, spin-offs and cross-overs keep piling up as if it were a competition. ("Nightmare on Elm Street" and "Fast and Furious" are neck-and-neck.) 

Send in your pick for a chance to be on the next Movies on the Radio on October 28, 2020. Email us at sot@wunc.org, tweet at us with #sotmovie, join the conversation on Facebook or just comment below!

 

A movie poster saying a fascinating adventure into the unknown! There is a yellow tiger being poked by a small white man next to a large pair of scissors, matches, and white sewing thread
Flickr / Creative Commons

One of the truest forms of horror Hollywood ever depicts is the story of mankind abandoned, disoriented or forgotten. Whether it’s a film about being lost at sea like Robert Zemeckis’ “Cast Away” or one about being so miniscule that your spouse believes you’ve been eaten by the family cat — as was the case in the 1957 sci-fi film “The Incredible Shrinking Man,” — movies about isolation force viewers to confront some of their worst fears.

Movies On The Radio: Films About Isolation

Sep 9, 2020
20th Century Studios/Dreamworks Pictures

Feeling stir-crazy staying at home during the pandemic? Our next Movies on the Radio may be just what you need. This month with Marsha Gordon and Laura Boyes, we will explore films about isolation and escape.

From Tom Hanks' deep and abiding relationship with Wilson in "Cast Away" to Brooke Shields' love affair with Christopher Atkins in "The Blue Lagoon" to Matt Damon's time stranded in outer space in "The Martian," we will talk about films that envision being alone and what it does to the body, mind, and psyche.

A woman wearing earrings and a white dress looks wearily at the camera. Behind her, a mirror shows her profile.
Library of Congress

Some of the most popular films in our nation’s cinematic history are about the life, culture and customs of the American South. “Gone With the Wind” — the story of Southern belle Scarlett O’Hara and her love life set against the backdrop of the Civil War and Reconstruction — remains one of the highest-grossing films to date. And the first film to ever be screened in the White House was the 1915 silent film “Birth of a Nation,” a film set in Civil War and Reconstruction-era South Carolina that glorifies the Ku Klux Klan. 

Movies On The Radio: The South In Film

Aug 6, 2020
A film poster with a man and a woman in a passionate embrace
Armando Seguso // Heritage Auctions

Our next Movies on the Radio hits close to home. This month, we will discuss how the South gets portrayed in film. Whether it is Mississippi in the 1930s in “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” or the Louisiana bayou in “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” we will explore how the big screen takes on the South’s history, symbols, caricatures and critiques. And as conversations about systemic racism across the country evolve, what context do we need to give to “Gone With the Wind”?

Cars at a drive-in movie
Cpl. Ali Azimi

Social distancing guidelines are pushing many social interactions outdoors — so why not the movies? Drive-in theaters had their heyday in the 1950s and ‘60s, with showings of family classics, kitschy horror films, sci-fi wonders and — ahem — “adults-only” flicks. The coronavirus pandemic has sparked a resurgence of interest in the iconic activity. 
 

Going to a movie at a drive-in or outdoor screening makes memories: the picnic dinner with friends, that tinny sound coming through the car speakers, the joyous anticipation for the start of the movie as the giant screen looms out of the growing dusk. 

As the weeks of social distancing and stay-at-home orders drag on, some people are desperate for a break from where they have been for the past couple months. Films can offer an escape and transport the viewer to faraway lands or lush landscapes. 
 

Moviestore / Shutterstock

With an uncertain end to social distancing, many people are turning to their screens for a break from the four walls around them. Film is one way to escape your current reality — some movies can evoke a specific place so deeply that it transports us far away. It could be to the grit of NC’s own “Bull Durham” or into the Parisian magic of “Amelie.” 

Send in your nomination for a chance to be on the next Movies on the Radio. Email us at sot@wunc.org, tweet at us with #sotmovie, or just comment below!

Pixabay

Who are we when faced with widespread contagion? Disease and humanity’s varied responses to sickness are on full-display in cinema – from zombie flicks to documentaries that help deepen our understanding of epidemics in the real world.  

Wikimedia Commons

Dance has been a part of film since the early days of the visual medium. As the dance trends came and went, so did the movies portraying them on the silver screen.

Gold Oscar statues.
Praytino / Flickr

The nominations for the 2020 Academy Awards came out last week and the usual uproar followed. For this edition of Movies on the Radio, we asked listeners, staff, and film experts Laura Boyes and Marsha Gordon which Oscar nods they agree or disagree with.

Pixabay

We’re STILL waiting on nominations for the Academy Awards. So, in the meantime, we’re making our own list!

What was your favorite film of 2019?

Send your nomination to sot@wunc.org for your chance to be on the next Movies on the Radio with film experts Laura Boyes and Marsha Gordon.

Movies On The Radio: It’s Time To Dance

Nov 15, 2019

Note: This program will air in February, 2020.

The State of Things is dancing our way to the next Movies on the Radio. Film experts Laura Boyes and Marsha Gordon will talk about your favorite dance movies, from “Singin’ in the Rain” to “You Got Served.”

Warning: This film is not fiction. It is the shocking truth about the coming apocalypse and the events that have led up to it.
Drift Distribution

Who really killed JFK? Why does the water taste funny? What goes on at Area 51? Paranoia is justified in movie classics about nefarious plots reaching to the highest levels of government, church or corporation. Many are allegories, others play upon our wildest fantasies, while some are true-to-life depictions of historical events.

United Artists

What is Soylent Green? Who killed JFK? What goes on at Area 51? Paranoia is justified in these classics about conspiracies and cover-ups, reaching the highest levels of government, church, and corporation. For the next edition of Movies on the Radio, we want to know your favorite films about pulling back the curtain and speaking truth to power.

Movie poster that reads 'Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark.'
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Steven Spielberg was named the highest-grossing filmmaker in U.S. history last year.

MOTR: The Best of Spielberg

Sep 19, 2019

Steven Spielberg’s work ranges from the gripping war drama “Saving Private Ryan” to the animated series “Pinky and the Brain.” He scared us with “Poltergeist,” and fascinated us with “Jurassic Park.” Spielberg made us laugh at “The Goonies” and cry in “The Color Purple.” Whether writing, producing or directing, Steven Spielberg is one of Hollywood’s elite filmmakers whose name is worth its weight in Oscar gold. This month we want to know about your favorite Spielberg movie? 

 

An improvised scene from 'Midnight Cowboy'
United Artists

People constantly quote and misquote cinema — sometimes without ever having seen the referenced film. Think about lines like “You had me at hello”; “Hasta la vista, baby”; or “Play it again, Sam.” Sometimes the words many of us repeat are never spoken in the movie, and other times they are phrases that actors made up on the spot. 

What's Your Favorite Movie Quote?

Sep 3, 2019
Island World

Hollywood continues to change the English language. We constantly quote and misquote cinema — sometimes without ever having seen the referenced film. Sometimes the line we keep repeating simply doesn’t exist! Whether it’s from Monty Python, Spike Lee or Spielberg, movie quotes are the way we map our cultural common ground.

On the next Movies on the Radio, we want to know your notable quotables. What bits of dialogue do you most often pepper into conversation? Which lines do your friends and family inevitably end up quoting?

A colorful card showing all the main characters from the film.
Library of Congress

Follow the yellow brick road to The State of Things’ celebration of the 80th anniversary of the film adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz.” The 1939 film’s mesmerizing visuals, hit musical numbers and heartwarming characters are still revered by audiences today.

The Enduring Legacy of The Wizard Of Oz

Aug 8, 2019
A black and white photo of the cast of The Wizard of Oz in costume.
Library of Congress

Somewhere over the rainbow, The State of Things is celebrating the 80th anniversary of the film adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz.” The 1939 movie is best known for its hit musical numbers, fantastical plotline and use of Technicolor. Judy Garland’s career took off after she portrayed Dorothy Gale on her journey through the magical land of Oz, and the film has since become an American cultural touchstone.

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.

David Attenborough stands in front of promotional backdrop for "Our Planet" at the series premiere.
Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP

Man versus wild is an enduring theme in film that continues to draw movie-goers to the box office. From the 1998 IMAX epic “Everest” to the solo-survival story in “Cast Away,” movies about nature probe how experiences in nature shape human’s understanding of their own capabilities.

Twentieth Century Fox

From Erin Brokovich's fight for environmental justice to the lush natural world in James Cameron’s “Avatar,” nature and the environment often play a starring role in film.

For the next edition of “Movies On The Radio,” we want to know which film about nature stuck with you the most? Is it Reese Witherspoon’s tough journey in “Wild” or maybe the classic animated film “FernGully: The Last Rainforest?”

Braveheart poster
courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Despite the rise in luxury theatres with gourmet food and drink service, movie theater attendance is on the decline in the United States. Many more Americans are choosing to watch the latest releases at home from the comfort of their own couch. But no matter the size of the screen or the price of the experience, sometimes viewers just cannot make it to the end of a film.

MOTR: Films You Walked Out On

Apr 26, 2019

Have you ever paid $10 dollars to see a movie in the theater only to walk out long before the credits? Or cozied up on your couch with all intention to watch the latest streaming movie, but you just couldn’t make it through to the end?

Pages