Watch This With Rick Ramos

Breaking Down the Gates: Defining the 70s (Part II) 

The Second Half of an earlier episode where Mr. Chavez & I discuss ten films (and a short list of Honorable Menitons) that defined the 1970s as a decade. All the usual names: Scorsese, Coppola, Spielberg, Friedkin, DePalma, Lumet, etc. are found throughout the episode. Take a listen and see if these (remaining Top 5 and The Honorable Mentions) are on your list. Thanks for the continued support. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com

Direct download: Defining70sCinemaPart2Final_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:08am EDT

Breaking Down the Gates: Defining the 70s  (Part I)

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Mr. Chavez & I continue our examination of the films that defined their respective genres. This week we discuss - arguably (Mr. Ramos's opinion) - the single greatest decade in Cinema . . . The 1970s. The 1970s was an incredibly creative, ground-breaking, and overpowering period of filmmaking that brought us names as important as Spielberg, DePalma, Coppola, Friedkin, Bogdanovich, Ashby, and - of course - Scorsese. These filmmakers, and the names of others who fallen through the cracks, are profiled on this episode (as well as it's sequel). It's not necessarily "The Best of the 1970s" but more importantly, the films that tell us the most about the Decade. It's a fun ride. Join us for it. 

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Our Continued Love & Thanks. 

 

Direct download: Defining70sCinema.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:42am EDT

Towards a New Hope: George Lucas's THX-1138

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Mr. Chavez & I continue our look into - arguably - the greatest of The Cinematic Decades - The 1970s. This week we pay particular attention to George Lucas and his directorial debut, THX-1138. We discuss the film, it's themes and religious connatations, as well as it's production history - including role as flagship project of Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola's Independent Filmmaking Utopia, American Zoetrope. Surprise, Surprise - one of us is a bigger fan of this film than the other, but the discussion (because of this difference) is definitely worth a listen. It's a problematic film (both of us believe this), however it's a film with an important history and role in the emergence of "The New Hollywood". Take a listen and let us know what you think. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks for Your Continued Love & Support. 

Direct download: LucasFollyFinal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:58pm EDT

Tormented Road: Steven Spielberg's Duel

This week Mr. Chavez & I dig into one of our favorite film decades - The 1970s with a look at - arguably - the most successful box-office director in the history of cinema . . . Steven Spielberg. This week we take a look at his feature length directorial debut, Duel. 1971 was a phenomenal year for cinema with the trumpeting of a great new director. It's difficult to imagine film without Steven Spielberg and, thus, it's important for us to begin an examination of great storytelling and the beginnings of a great filmmaker. Take a listen and let us know what you think of this 1971 classic. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks.

Direct download: Duel_-_Spielberg.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 2:45am EDT

Easy Drugs & Raging Egos: New Hollywood & the Auteur Era

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Mr. Chavez & I take a look at Ted Demme & Richard LaGravenese's IFC Documentary, A Decade Under the Influence and Kenneth Bowser's Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex, Drugs and Rock 'N' Roll Generation Saved Hollywood.  It's a great time for a couple of cinema nerds to look at one of the greatest periods in the history of cinema. We look at the big names and the legacy of the 70s that continues to fascinate us 30+ years later. This week we talk the usual names: DePalma, Coppola, Spielberg, Bogdanovich, Schrader, and many more including - of course - Scorsese. It's a whole lot of fun. Take a listen and let us know what you think. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Our Continued Thanks for Your Love and Support. 

 

Direct download: EasyRidersRagingBulls.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:41am EDT

A Decade Light and Dark: Defining the 60s

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Mr. Chavez & I continue our dive into the films that define their respective decades. This week we look at the 1960s . . . Racial Unrest, Vietnam, The Hippie Culture, Revolution and Class Uprisings, Male-Female Relations . . . The 1960s were a tumultuous decade that would test the country and the world. The usual names make their appearances (Kurosawa, Anger, Peckinpah, Wilder, etc.), but they are accompanied by new names and a handful of films that may surprise you. Take a listen and let us know what you think. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Our Continued Love and Thanks.

Direct download: DefiningTheDecades1960s.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 8:05pm EDT

Rome Before Christ, After Fellini: Fellini's Satyricon

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Mr. Chavez & I sit down to discuss one of the great names in all of cinema - The Great Italian Master Federico Fellini. Fellini's Satyricon (1970) is a powerful, overwhelmingly beautiful, and incredibly conflicting film based on Petronius's Late 1st Century AD look at Imperial Rome during the reign of Emperor Nero. Whether a commentary on Ancient Rome, The Contemporary Italy of the late 1960s, or both, Fellini's vision is on display through the lens of the great Italian cinematographer Giuseppe "Peppino" Rottunno, and is breathtaking and troubling. Fellini was a director unafraid of tackling images, subject matter, and tastes. This is an incredible visual feast that will challenge your sense of cinema. It's a wild ride that offers so much while dancing on the razor's edge of offense. A truly remarkable film that challenges it's viewers on many, many levels. We're proud and thrilled to be talking about this great piece of cinema. Take a listen and let us know what you think. 

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks for your continued love and support. 

Direct download: FelliniSatyriconFinalFinal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:52pm EDT

Highway Without Horizon: Monte Hellman's Two-Lane Blacktop

This week, Mr. Chavez & I sit down to discuss a seminal film of the 1970s, Monte Hellman's Two-Lane Blacktop. Featuring musical icons, James Taylor and Dennis Wilson (as, respectively, The Driver & The Mechanic), Laurie Bird, and the great character actor, Warren Oates as GTO. There's not a whole lot I can put into this description, but I will give my all . . . Ibrahim & I are thrilled to be discussing a cult classic that has only grown more powerful and enduring as the years have gone by. There's a whole lot packed into this story of a cross (or mid) country race between Taylor's The Driver, his co-pilot The Mechanic (Dennis Wilson) and Warren Oates's GTO. An existential look at men and their need to bury themselves in car culture, speed, and mythology.

We cover a lot of bases and are thrilled that you are joining us on this incredible ride. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com

Many Thaks!

Direct download: TwoLaneBlacktopFinalFinal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:29am EDT

Frontier Justice: William Wellman's The Ox Bow Incident

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Mr. Ramos goes it alone to discuss a seldom seen, little discussed film in the Western genre, William Wellman's The Ox Bow Incident. Henry Fonda leads a cast of noted character actors in an early look at the Western,  closer to it's actual truth. A controversial and disturbing look at mob rule and lynching in American society, Wellman's film is a challenging examination of the Western genre. Take a listen as I ramble on for about an hour. It's a li'l bit of fun. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks.

Direct download: TheOxBowIncident.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:04am EDT

Madman's Miracle: Jodorowsky's El Topo

There are a few filmmakers that when you watch their work you can step back and honestly say that you are watching a visionary work. The great Russian-Chilean filmmaker, Alejandro Jodorowsky, is a filmmaker of immense talent and visual uniqueness. From his earliest films, including his earliest film Fando y Lis thru The Holy Mountain and his ill-fated adaptation of Frank Herbert's Sci-Fi Classic, Dune - Jodorowsky has been an admired, venerated, controversial, and polarizing figure.

On this week's episode, Mr. Chavez & I sit down to look at one of his masterpieces, 1970s El Topo. A beautifully poetic Eastern-Western, Jodorowsky's midnight movie masterpiece is justly regarded as a classic. This week, Ibrahim & I express our admiration, confusion, and love of his cinema. Take a listen . . . it's an interesting conversation that covers the poetics, the beauty, and the controversies surrounding this exceptional film and it's even more exceptional director.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks.

Direct download: ElTopoFinalProject.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:29am EDT

Postwar Paranoia:  Defining the 50s

On this week's episode of Watch This W/Rick Ramos, Mr. Chavez & I sit down and continue our examination of the definitive films of their respective decades. This week we look at the 1950s . . . A Post-War America, The Red Scare, McCarthyism, and the "Imagined Idealism" of the Leave it to Beaver decade. It's a fun talk as we dig into our respective choices for the films that define the 1950s. Take a listen as we discuss a host of directors, actors, themes, and stories. It's a fun talk  as we barrel towards the new millennium of film-making. Take a listen. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Our Continued Love & Thanks. 

Direct download: Great50sFilms.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:04am EDT

More Than Seven Words: George Carlin's American Dream

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, I visit with an old friend, Mrs. Amy Nelson Melle. Amy & I first met thirty-three years ago as sophomores in the Camelback High School Drama Department. The only two Chicanos (and - maybe two of less than seven or eight Non-White students), we bonded early with our mutual love of Soul Music, Cinema, and Stand-Up Comedy. We went to our first George Carlin concert at the CelelbrityTheatre in Phoenix, AZ sometime in the early-90s. Carlin has been a constant source of strength, intelligence, and hope in our lives. We're thrilled to sit down and discuss this iconic performer and the Judd Apatow/Michael Bonfiglio directed HBO Documentary, George Carlin's American Dream (2022), which premiered May 20th.

Looking at Carlin's tumultuous life: compromised early career, counter-culture shift, rocketing success, drug and alcohol abuse, marital problems, dip in popularity, and late career resurgence which solidified his position as one of the greatest stand-ups of all time - all of this comes together to help us understand ourselves, the culture, and - ultimately - the species. This was a great time talking the past, the present, and the future with Carlin a constant presence and - to some degree - a contrarian guide. We invite you to sit in with us. It's a fun time between two old friends.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks.

Direct download: CarlinAmericanDreamHBO.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:56pm EDT

Sons of South Gate: The Cypress Hill Story

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I bring it home with this  fun discussion digging into Mr. Chavez's feelings, attitude, and memories of his hometown, South Gate, CA. - which also happens to be the birthplace of Latino Hip-Hop pioneers Cypress Hill. We look to cinema for inspiration and the new Showtime Documentary, Cypress Hill: Insane in the Brain (2022, Dir. Estevan Oriol) provides just that. It's a fun, informative, and enlightening talk for me and a trip through the past for Mr. Chavez. We discuss the 1990s and Mr. Chavez's hometown of South Gate, CA - its music, people, culture, and history. It's a goddamn good time that you're not going to want to miss. Take a listen and see if you agree. 

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com.  Many Thanks! 

Direct download: FinalCypressHillSouthgate.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:38pm EDT

What Was Real? Andy Kaufman, Latka Gravas, Tony Clifton, & Jim Carrey

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Mr. Chavez & I look at the life and career of Andy Kaufman. Kaufman was always a polarizing figure in the world of comedy and entertainment. A challenging artist, constantly at odds with his audiences, Kaufman was responsible for some of the most controversial "crowd stunts" in late 70s and early 80s entertainment. From network specials designed to confuse and trick audiences, through his ambivalence in playing Latka Gravas on the sitcom Taxi (1978-83), berating and wrestling women, and his alter-ego - the obnoxious Vegas lounge singer - Tony Clifton, Kaufman has been heralded as a genius and "ahead of his time" and also a spoiled Hollywood star. This week Ibrahim and I discuss Milos Forman's 1999 biopic Man on the Moon, featuring a Golden Globe winning performance from Jim Carrey and the 2017 documentary on the making of the film, Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond. It's an intersting conversation on the trappings of stardom and the responsibility of the artist. 

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks. 

Direct download: ManOnTheMoon_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:06pm EDT

Black Summit 64 - Regina King's    One Night in Miami

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Mr. Chavez & I sit down to discuss the 2020 critical hit from first-time director, Regina King, One Night in Miami. A fictionalized portrait of a meeting between four of the leading figures of 1960s Black Culture: Soul Singer, Sam Cooke (portrayed by Leslie Odom Jr.)/NFL fullback and soon-to be Hollywood icon, Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge)/Muslim minister and Human Rights activist, Malcolm X (later Malik el-Shabazz - portrayed by Kingsley Ben-Adir), and the 22 year old Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Civil Rights Leader, and Cultural Icon, Cassius Clay - on the cusp of becomming Muhammad Ali (Eli Goree). It goes without saying King's film is one that rarely gets made. A work of subtlety and nuance that looks into the lives of the Black struggle and the roles of leaders in said struggle. It's a film that we walked into unsure of and walked out of excited by the conversation that would ensue. Take a listen and let us know what you think. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks for Your Continued Love &  Support. 

Direct download: Miami.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:30pm EDT

More Than Hardboiled: Defining the 40s

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, my partner, Mr. Chavez & I are continuing our look at the very best films of each decade, culminating with our opinions on the single films that define the decade. This week we look at the 1940s . . . a period of The U.S. coming out of The Great Depression, the beginning and conclusion of World War II, and the opening of cinema as an international movement (although cinema had been viable art throughout the world before this time). For this episode, Mr. Chavez & I discuss our Top 10 films and the honorable mention titles that barely missed the list. As with all titles, we have picked these films after careful consideration and understand that the lists will - probably - change within minutes of our talk. That's the nature of cinema. Take a listen and hopefully, you'll remember some great films and  be introduced to others. We have our opinions and you're going to have yours. Either way, it's a fun talk.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks for the Continued Love & Support.

Direct download: The_Very_Best_of_the_1940s.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:32pm EDT

"Toons . . . Gets 'Em Every Time!" Robert Zemeckis's Who Framed Roger Rabbit

On this week's episode of WatchThis, Mr. Chavez & I discuss the ground-breaking 1988 Robert Zemeckis Classic Who Framed Roger Rabbit. This is truly a game-changing film that succeeds far beyond any novelty it may appear to be. With a collection of classic fan favorite cartoon characters from Warner Brothers (Bugs, Daffy, Tweety, Yosemite Sam), Disney (Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and many of the cast of Fantasia), Max Fleischer Studios (Betty Boop), Walter Lantz Studios (Woody Woodpecker), and MGM (Droopy), this is a film that is both a nostalgic look back at Classic Animation and a beautifully realized 1940s style Film Noir. Better than it has any right to be, Zemeckis's film is a triumph of animation, technology, and acting led by Bob Hoskins (never better), Joanna Cassidy, the voice talents of Charles Fleischer, Kathleen Turner, Tony Anselmo, June Foray, The Greatest of All - Mel Blanc, and a live-action Christopher Lloyd - in one of his greatest performances - as Judge Doom. This is a fun conversation in which we dig into the film, the history of Animation, Noir, and Los Angeles. Don't miss out.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks.

Direct download: RogerRabbit.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

"It's the pictures that got small." - Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard

This week, Mr. Chavez & I continue our descent into the ruthlessness, horror, and sadness of Hollywood - Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard (1950), a true classic of cinema and a film that continues to astonish audiences over 70 years later. With a young William Holden cementing his stature in cinema, and brilliant performances from Silent Cinema legends, Gloria Swanson as one of the most iconic characters of the silver screen, Norma Desmond, and her broken, loyal, and forgotten manservant and one-time director, the great Erich von Stroheim (both Academy Award nominated), this is a classic of the studio system and a film that only grows in power year after year. Ibrahim & I are thrilled to talk this film and are hoping that we are introducing it to a few new viewers. Take a listen and let us know what you think. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks. 

Direct download: SunsetBlvdRedux.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:40pm EDT

In Dreams: David Lynch's Mulholland Drive

On this week's episode of Watch This, Mr. Chavez & I are diving into the hazy dreams of David Lynch. A polarizing, controversial, and challenging director, David Lynch has overwhelmed audiences for over four decades. Mulholland Drive (2001) may be his masterpiece. An uneasy and brutally honest look at Los Angeles and Hollywood, Lynch's tale of a young actor (Naomi Watts) arriving in The City of Angels and finding herself lost in a world of mystery, treachery, and deceit. It's a wild ride that leaves its audience guessing and second-guessing what they believe they know. This is an overpowering film with excellent performances from Naomi Watts and Laura Elena Harring. Be sure to watch this film before listening to the podcast. We are talking every aspect of the movie. You owe it to yourself to watch it first. 

Thanks for tuning in. Questions, Comments, Complaints, and Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks. 

 

Direct download: MulhollandDriveFinal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:19am EDT

Cinema Has Something to Say: Defining the 30s
On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Mr. Chavez & I sit down to talk the 1930s and so many of the brilliants films that came out of that generation. This week we take a look at films from a wide variety of directors including: Michael Curtiz, Victor Fleming, Frank Capra, Lewis Milestone, Leni Riefensthal, John Ford, Howard Hawks, and Fritz Lang. It's a good conversation. Take a listen.  Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks. 
Direct download: 1930s.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:54am EDT

The History of Rock N Roll Part XIII - Laurel Canyon & The L.A. Sound

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I go back to our never-ending examination of the History of Rock N Roll with a look at the Laurel Canyon scene of the late 60s and early 70s. Profiling The Mamas & The Papas, The Byrds, Crosby, Stills, & Nash and Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young, The Doors, Linda Ronstadt, Joni Mitchell, LIttle Feat, Love, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, and a host of others, we continue our look into the History of the American Music Scene and the era that both inspired and was affected by this music. We look at a number of documentaries to understand this music and time, including: Echo in the Canyon (Dir. Andrew Slater, 2019), The Two Part Epix Documenary - Laurel Canyon (Dir. Alison Ellwood, 2020), Joni Mithcell - A Woman of Heart and Mind (Dir. Susan Lacy, 2003), and - finally - David Crosby: Remember My Name (Dir. A.J. Eaton, 2019). Take a listen . . . it's a good conversation - Very Personal.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks. 

Direct download: My_MovieLaurelCanyon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:46pm EDT

Beautiful Darkness - A Few Thoughts on Film Noir

On this week's episode, I go solo to talk my favorite genre . . . Film Noir. Take a listen as I ramble and bumble my way through a rudimentary understanding of the (supposed) genre. There's a lot to unpack here and I'm doing the best that I can to get my ideas down. Take a listen and let me know what you think. As always I can be reached at gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks for your continued love and support. 

Direct download: FilmNoirMarch19.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:42am EDT

Not a Comedian . . . Lenny Bruce

On this week's episode, Ibrahim & I dive into the life of one of the great comics of The Modern Stand-Up Era - a man that it can be argued changed the format of stand-up comedy - Lenny Bruce (October 13, 1925 - August 03, 1966). Often times recognized as a Christ-like martyr "who died for the sins of all future comics" this description may be extreme, however Bruce's status as an innovator and artistic & cultural hero cannot be denied. This week Ibrahim & I are thrilled to discuss one of the greats, including Bob Fosse's 1974 (loosely) biographical look at Bruce's life, Lenny featuring Dustin Hoffman as Bruce and an Academy Award nominated Valeria Perrine as his wife, Honey. We also look at three documentaries of varying quality. 1998's Lenny Bruce: Swear to Tell the Truth (dir. Robert Weide), 1972's Lenny Bruce: Without Tears (dir. Fred & Barbara Baker), and Elan Gale's 2011 documentary Looking for Lenny.  We talk Bruce, his legacy, controversies, and the current state of stand-up comedy and cancel culture. It's a good discussion. Take a listen. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks. 

Direct download: LennyBruce.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:33pm EDT

The Roaring Silents - The 1920s

On this week's episode, Ibrahim & I sit down to continue our look at the cinema of each decade. This week we focus on the 1920s and the great films and directors whose films continue to enthrall us. Whether Chaplin's The Gold Rush (1925), Robert Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), F.W. Murnau's Sunrise - A Song of Two Humans (1927)and The Last Laugh (1924), Buster Keaton's The General (1926) and Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928), Walt Disney's Steamboat Willie (1928) and Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927). It's a fun and interesting conversation about the history of film and the importance of these great pictures. Take a listen and let us know what you think. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks. 

Direct download: The1920s.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:28am EDT

The History of Rock N Roll Part XII - Troubled Harmony: Brian Wilson & The Beach Boys

This week Mr. Chavez & I continue our exploration into The History of Rock N Roll with a look at one of the seminal bands in the history of Southern California music . . . The Beach Boys. We take a look at the history with a focused look at band co-founder and principal songwriter Brian Wilson. Long heralded as a musical genius, it has been an interesting and compelling look into his life. This week we focus on four documentaries: Malcolm Leo's  hagiography The Beach Boys: An American Band (1985), Don Was's Brian Wilson: I Just Wasn't Made for These Times (1995), Brent Wilson's Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road (2021), and Bill Pohlad's 2014 Bio-Pic Love & Mercy featuring Paul Giamatti as psychologist, Dr. Eugene Landy, Elizabeth Banks as Wilson's second wife, Melinda Ledbetter, and as Wilson, Paul Giamatti (as the young Brian Wilson) and John Cusack as the older 1980s Brian Wilson. With the exception of Leon's doc, the films are interesting and thought-provoking regarding artistry, mental illness, and the combination of the two. It's a good talk and we're thrilled to go - a bit - outside of our comfort zone. Thanks for listening. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com

Direct download: BrianWilson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:21am EDT

The History of Rock N Roll Part XI - Frank Zappa: Absolutely Free

Ibrahim and I keep moving through the artists, recordings, songs, and magic that have defined The History of Rock N Roll. This week we take a look at censorship, independence, artistic integrity and their coming together in the work of Frank Zappa. A polarizing figure both artistically and politically, there has never truly been an artist comparable to Zappa, before or since.  Neither of us is completely sold on Zappa's music, however we feel it important to dedicate an episode to this powerful figure, and three documentaries that profile his career and life: Salvo Cuccia's Summer 82: When Zappa Came to Sicily (2013), Thorsten Schütte's Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words (2016), and Alex Winter's Zappa (2020).

It's a good talk; we hope you enjoy it.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, and Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Our Continued Thanks.

 

Direct download: FrankZappa.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:05pm EDT

Like a Thread Throughout the World: Andrei Tarkovsky's Mirror

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I are thrilled to discuss one of the truly great artists of the medium, Andrei Tarkovsky. In the short span of seven films, Tarkovsky expanded and re-defined the possibilities for Cinema. For this episode we look at a Tarkovsky masterpiece, 1975s Mirror; a hazy and dream-like examination of the filmmaker's life and the life of The Soviet Union in the 20th Century. This is a film that has baffeled, confused, enthralled, and captivated untold numbers of viewers for nearly a half century. Take a listen as Ibrahim & I discuss why this is the case.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Our Continued Thanks.

Direct download: Mirror.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:28pm EDT

The History of Rock N Roll Part X - Soundtrack of the Century: 20 Feet from Stardom/Standing in the Shadows of Motown/Muscle Shoals

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Mr. Chavez & I continue our exploration of The World of Rock N Roll with a look at the foundation of any song . . . the bands and the background singers that give every song structure, power, and drive. This week we look at Morgan Neville's 20 Feet From Stardom (2019) - profiling Tata Vega, Judith Hill, Jo Lawry, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, and the great Darlene Love - Paul Justman's Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002) - profiling the great Motown backing band The Funk Brothers. composed of: Jack Ashford (percussion), Bob Babbitt (bass), Uriel Jones (drums), Joe Hunter (keyboards), Joe Messina (guitar), Richard "Pistol" Allen (drums), Benny "Papa Zita" Benjamin (drums), Eddie "Bongo" Brown (percussion), Johnny Griffith (keyboards), Earl Van Dyke (keyboards), and Robert White (guitar). Finally, we close out the show with an incredible film showcasing The Birth of the Deep South Soul & Rock N Roll Sound birthed by the great Alabama Producer Rick Hall and FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals Alabama . . . I'm talking about Greg "Freddy" Camalier's Muscle Shoals (2013). An incredible film that showcases the legacy of Hall and the Swampers including: Barry Beckett (keyboards), Roger Hawkins (drums), David Hood (bass), Jimmy Johnson (guitar), Chips Moman (guitar), Junior Lowe (guitar), Dan Penn, Tommy Cogbill, Pete Carr (guitar), and Spooner Oldham (organ and piano). This is a fun episode that will - hopefully - introduce three great films and a host of music that you owe it to yourself to embrace. Take a listen and let us know what you think. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks. 

Direct download: TheFoundationoftheSound.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:04am EDT

The Films that Defined Their Decades - The 1910s: A Southern Gentlemen Re-Writes History With a Lightning Bolt - D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I, begin a new series examining a film from each cinematic decade; A film that defines the era and changes the way we look at the movies. This week we take a look at D.W. Griffith's controversial, problematic, and ground-breaking depiction of The Civil War, The Reconstruction, and The Birth of the Ku Klux Klan - The Birth of a Nation. This is not an easy film to talk about, but it's one of the most important films in The History of Cinema. From its controversial release in 1915 through continued attempts to screen Birth in public, the film remains a lightning rod for anger, resentment, and censorship. We hope that we are able to add intelligence and thought-provoking criticism to this argument.

Thanks for the Continued Love & Support. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com.

Direct download: BirthOfANationGriffith.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:14pm EDT

The History of Rock N Roll Part IX - English Blood Runs Hot: The Rolling Stones

This week Ibrahim & I continue our examination of The History of Rock N Roll with a look at one of the greatest of Rock N Roll bands - Mick Jagger,  Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood, Brian Jones, Mick Taylor, and Bill Wyman . . . The Rollings Stones. This is a great episode, looking at Oliver Murray's The Quiet One (2019), Mike Figgis's Ronnie Wood - Someone Up There Likes Me (2020), Jean Luc Godard's Sympathy for the Devil (1968), Danny Garcia's Brian Jones - Rolling Stone: Life and Death of Brian Jones (2020), and Martin Scorsese's Shine a Light (2008). A whole lot to watch and a whole lot of talk. Take a listen and enjoy the celebration.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many, Many Thanks.

Direct download: EnglishBlood.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:54pm EDT

Ghosts of the Pale & Shadowy Moon After the Rain: Kenji Mizoguchi's Ugetsu Monogotari

This week Mr. Chavez & I have the pleasure of discussing one of the great films of Cinema, Kenji Mizoguchi's 1953 Masterpiece, Ugetsu Monogotari. A beautiful, touching, and awe-inspiring film that stands as one of the great examples of World Cinema and easily sits among the great films of The Art of Motion Pictures. Featuring a cast including Rashomon's Machiko Kyō and Masayuki Mori, Mizoguchi's tale of Ghostly Temptation, Upward Mobility, and Feudal Class Restraints is both a warning and a morality tale for human greed, desire, and frailty.

It is a true pleasure to continue our exploration into the greatest films of the medium. If you have not seen this film you are walking into one of the great story-telling experiences. You're Welcome.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, and Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks.

Direct download: UgetsuMonogotari.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 10:58am EDT

What's the Worst That Could Happen? Ted Demme's Life (1999)

Dropping a bonus episode . . . this week I go solo to discuss Ted Demme's 1999 comic tour de force, Life. Until My Name is Dolemite, nearly twenty years later, this was Eddie Murphy's last R-Rated Comedy. 

Tackling 65-years of racism, imprisonment, scapegoating, and - ultimately - friendship, Demme's film captures the brilliance of Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence with a wonderful supporting cast including: Bernie Mac, Miguel Nuñez Jr., Anthony Anderson, Joe Torry, Nick Cassavetes, R. Lee Ermey, Obba Babatundé, Clarence Williams III, and Ned Beatty. It's a wonderful film that I'm thrilled to talk about and relate to the ridiculous and painful experiences of my own life. A deeply personal and honest episode that I hope you take something from. Thank you for listening. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com.

 

Direct download: LIFE.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:39pm EDT

Hot Air & Fantasy: Terry Gilliam's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988)

Here's a movie that makes it exciting to be a movie lover . . . in the mid-1980's, filmmaker Terry Gilliam - after having won an unbeatable media and artistic war with Universal Pictures over the release of his bleak and dystopian picture, Brazil (1985) - would tackle a film that would nearly prove the end of him and almost everyone involved with it. Based on an 19th Century German storyteller, Terry Gilliam's film had been filmed a number of times before, but never with the vision, excitement, budget, and production problems that would plague this film. Through problems with language (English-speaking director and cast, Italian-speaking crew, shooting in Spain), production overruns, cast changes, a line producer seemingly more interested in the bravado of his role, shutdowns, and - finally - being dumped by ColumbiaPictures without any kind of advertising, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen continues to amaze, intrigue, and baffle audiences. It is truly one of the most visionary and daring productions ever committed to film; from a director that was vilified (continuing to suffer from the films reputation some thirty plus years later) and, only much later, recognized as one of the great fantasy films. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen is a beautiful film gifted to anyone who wants to believe in, "sausage trees, oceans of wine," and the insanity of traveling to the moon on "hot air and fantasy". Featuring an incredible cast including: Eric Idle, Sarah Polley (all of nine years old), Valentina Cortese, Uma Thurman, Oliver Reed, Winston Dennis, Jack Purvis, Johnathan Pryce, Allison Steadman, co-screenwriter Charles McKeowen, Bill Paterson, Peter Jeffrey, Robin Williams (in a cameo as Ray D. Tutto - The King of the Moon), and a lead - an incredible lead - in John Neville as The Baron. This is a beautiful and inspiring film that we are thrilled to be talking about. We hope you enjoy the conversation, and that the conversation makes you seek out the movie. Thanks for the continued love and support.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks.

Direct download: GilliamsMunchausen.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 8:05pm EDT

Of Masks & Fantasies:

Stanley  Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut

The History of Cinema has known many great names. Few have had the success, respect, and influence of Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999). With a filmography of only twelve films (unless you include his hated Fear and Desire), Kubrick stands tall among the great directors: Lang, Murnau, Hitchcock, Ford, etc. and continues to fascinate audiences. This week Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss the late filmmaker's last film, Eyes Wide Shut (1999). This is a difficult film, tackling a troubling subject - marital infidelity, paranoia, and insecurity.  Featuring Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, and a wonderful and troubling Sidney Pollack, Eyes Wide Shut is a problematic and fascinating last film from a great director. Take a listen as Ibrahim and I discuss this final film from a master.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Our Thanks for Your Continued Support.

 

Direct download: EyesWideShut.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:29am EDT

A Heavy Metaphor: Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo

On this week's episode, Ibrahim & I look at a controversial and divisive film, Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo ( 1982). Herzog has proven himself a true artist and poet of Cinema. The notorious and infamous actions of his filmmaking history are well known. Irresponsible filmmaking or the Dogged Determination of an artist unwilling to compromise? The question is an important one to ask. In no other film that I have watched have I felt the overwhelming sense of danger and awe that must have been palpable on the set of Herzog's 1982. From losing two major actors, through cast and crew rebellion, violence directed at the production and crew, and - finally - the often violently contentious relationship between Herzog and his (six time) leading man, Klaus Kinski, the debate on responsible filmmaking is unmatched in the modern-era of filmmaking. With a demanding eye rivaling Fritz Lang and Erich von Stroheim, with Fitzcarraldo, Herzog certainly made a name for himself in the history of cinematic visionaries. Take a listen as we debate the merits of Herzog, Kinski, and the production. We think you'll find it interesting. Many Thanks. 

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com

Direct download: HerzogKinskiFinal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:33am EDT

The History of Rock N Roll  Part VIII - Echo Chamber: Phil Spector's Wall of Sound

This week, Mr. Chavez & I continue our exploration of The History of Rock N Roll with a look at one of the most important production figures in the History of Modern Music - Phil Spector. Of course we look at the salacious and tabloid  driven end of Spector's life, but the two of us are far more interested in the revolutionary producing skills of the Bronx born former teen pop star. In order to cover this topic properly we look at David Mamet's HBO produced 2013 docudrama - Phil Spector, as well as the BBC produced, Vikram Jayanti directed, Phil Spector: the agony and the ecstasy (2008). We finish the episode with a great documentary profiling The West Coast/Wall of Sound production that would lay a powerful and transformative foundation to popular music, Danny Tedesco's The Wrecking Crew (2008). This is a touching and enlightening film that introduces audiences to so many of the great session players of the 1960s, including: Tommy Tedesco, Earl Palmer, Hal Blaine, Leon Russell, Glenn Campbell, Plas Johnson, and Carol Kaye, to name just a few. Take a listen - it's a fun and interesting conversation.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. As Always, Many Thanks.

Direct download: Spector.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 11:29pm EDT

The History of Rock N Roll Part VII - Don't Let Me Down: Peter Jackson's Get Back

On this week's episode, Mr. Chavez & I sit down to discuss Peter Jackson's Get Back, an eight-hour Disney+ documentary series chronicling the making of The Beatles Let It Be. There's a whole lot to take down in these viewings, but we look at it as important to understanding the History of Rock N Roll. Take a listen as we get into the artistry of creating, the frustrations, jealousies, and triumphs that accompany art. It's a good talk. We hope you'll join us. Questions, Comments, Complaints, and Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks.

Direct download: GetBack_2.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 8:18pm EDT

"Always This Hard." - Luc Besson's Léon: The Professional

This week, Mr. Chavez & I sit down to discuss a classic of the1990's, Luc Besson's 1994 Hit-Man Love Story, Léon: The Professional. A fascinating film that transcends it's reputation as an inappropriate male-fantasy, Besson's story of a young girl orphaned when her family is murdered by D.E.A. agents and taken in by slow-witted, but gentle and caring, hit-man, Léon: The Professional is a film that tackles much larger issues than is normally seen in an action movie.

Ibrahim & I are very aware of the controversies and problems of this film, Besson's personal life, and - most importantly - Natalie Portman's experiences with early sexualization that were born out of this film. Regardless of all of the problems (and we are NOT dismissing them in anyway) this is a film with sad, nuanced, and beautiful performances, as well as an over-the-top and bravado one by the great Gary Oldman. This was a fun film to go back to. We hope you enjoy the talk.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Our Continued Thanks for Your Love & Support.

Direct download: LeonTheProfessional.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 11:14am EDT

Windows Never Lie: The Voyeuristic Eye of Alfred Hitchcock

On this week's episode, Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss an Alfred Hitchcock Masterpiece, Rear Window (1954). Surprisingly, this is a film that your learned host has somehow missed. After a rocky start, The Master of Suspense pulls Rick Ramos in once again. This is a masterpiece of suspense working within limited parameters. Far more than a simple "gimmick" the great director's look at a man laid up with a broken leg who finds himself consumed and infatuated with the goings-on of his apartment courtyard and the surrounding apartment windows, is an early examination of voyeurism and social media (Yes! Listen to the episode to understand.). Long in the shadows of Psycho and Vertigo this is a truly underrated Hitchcock Classic. We're thrilled to be sitting down to discuss it. Hopefully, you'll enjoy the talk. Thanks for your continued support. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com

Direct download: Rear_Window.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 1:09am EDT

"The Thing Ain't the Ring, It's the Play." - Raging Bull: Martin Scorsese & Robert DeNiro's Examination of a Dangerous, Violent, Damaged Man

A blurb about Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull (1980) is completely unnecessary. Regularly cited as the Best Film of the 1980's and One of the Greatest Films of All Time, Raging Bull is a powerful examination of a man who only understands pain . . . dispensing and absorbing. With an incredible (Oscar Winning Lead Performance) from Robert DeNiro as Middleweight Boxing Champion, Jake La Motta "The Bronx Bull", and a supporting cast including Joe Pesci, Nicholas Colosanto, Frank Vincent, and - in a wonderful debut - Cathy Moriarty, Raging Bull is a masterpiece of Cinema. We are thrilled to sit down and talk this Classic.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks.

Direct download: RagingBullFinal.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 2:03am EDT

The Ghost of Dune: Jodorowsky's Unmade Masterpiece

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I continue our look at Frank Herbert's Classic Sci-Fi Novel, Dune. There's no shortage of angles to come at this movie from. Last week we looked at Denis Villeneuve's new film playing in theaters and HBOMax right now. This week Mr. Chavez & I touch on David Lynch's failed early-80's effort with producer Dino De Laurentis. A disastrous production and final product that Lynch has disowned and has great difficulty discussing, for the longest time Dune seemed unfilmable. But the meat of today's episode lays with Frank Pavich's 2013 documentary, Jodorowsky's Dune - a documentary on the making of the most famous un-filmed project in Cinema History. Featuring interviews with directors Richard Stanley and Nicholas Winding Refn, special effects, production and artistic designers, and producers including: H.R. Giger, Michel Seydoux, Chris Foss, and Jean Giraud. This is a fascinating documentary on one of the greatest disappointments in Cinema. A Must-See for all fans of Cinema. Take a listen and enjoy. 

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks. 

Direct download: Jodorowskys_Dune.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:56am EDT

Lawrence of Arrakis: Denis Villeneuve's Dune

This week Ibrahim & I take a look at a film currently playing in theaters and HBO MAX, Denis Villeneuve's Dune. There's a hell of a lot going on here; some good, some not so good. Villeneuve's a true visionary who pushes expectations. But is that always enough? Neither Ibrahim nor I are exactly sure. There are problems with Frank Herbert's 1965 novel (as well as David Lynch's 1984 troubled adaptation), but there are also aspects that are so grand and beautifully imagined that it's almost forgivable. There's a lot to talk about and Ibrahim & I do just that. Take a listen to see if you agree, disagree, or are - simply - confused by the whole thing. It's a good talk, either way. Take a listen and let us know what you think.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks.

Direct download: DenisVilleneuves_Dune.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:04pm EDT

Night Phantom: Werner Herzog's Nosferatu the Vampyre

On this week's episode, Ibrahim & I close out The Halloween Season with a look at an exceptional re-imagining of a Horror Classic, Werner Herzog's 1979 masterpiece Nosferatu the Vampyre. Featuring great performances from Bruno Ganz, Isabelle Adjani, and a masterful Klaus Kinski, this is easily one of the great Dracula re-tellings. It's a thrill for Ibrahim & I to sit down, look back, and discuss this great work of cinema. There's a whole lot going on in this episode. Take a listen as we celebrate Halloween. 

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Our Continued Thanks. 

Direct download: NosferatuHerzog.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:52am EDT

The Wolf Will Out: The Universal Werewolf

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss the third of The Great Universal Movie Monsters, Lon Chaney Jr. in his signature role as Lawrence Talbot, The Wolf Man. This is an incredible five picture run - the only actor in the Universal Monster canon who played his signature character through the character's entire run - The Wolf Man (1941), Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), House of Frankenstein (1944), House of Dracula (1945), and Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948). In a touching and iconic performance, Chaney would rise past his famous lineage to create one of the greatest of screen monsters. In this episode we salute the great man, the character, and it's long-lasting power. We also take a look at 2010's remake/re-boot, The Wolfman starring Benicio del Toro, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving, and Anthony Hopkins. This is a good time that you don't want to miss. Take a listen.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Thanks.

 

Direct download: TheWolfMan_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:07pm EDT

A Slice of Death - Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I continue our celebration of the Halloween season with a continuing exploration of Horror Cinema. This week we look at a truly nerve-wracking, disturbing, and horrific examination of serial killers, John McNaughton's Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (shot in 1986 and released in 1989). With a career-making performance from Michael Rooker and an incredible supporting cast, the brutality and tension of McNaughton's debut film has remained with cult audiences for over 30 years. This week, Ibrahim & I are proud to sit down and discuss of such great power and importance. If you haven't seen it, you will be changed. Give it a viewing, but be warned - it is not an easy film nor is it a forgiving one.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Our Continued Thanks.

 

Direct download: HenryLeeLucas.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:02am EDT

Groovy! - Sam Raimi & Bruce Campbell Battle an Army of Deadites

On this week's episode, Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss A Classic Series of the Horror Genre, Sam Raimi's Evil Dead Trilogy: Evil Dead (1981), Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987), and Army of Darkness (1992). The End of the 1970's brought with it a new sense of Horror. A leading voice in that movement was Minnesota born director Sam Raimi and his star, Bruce Campbell. A World of Evil was created and unleashed on the movie-going public and forty years later we continue to celebrate the adventures of Ash as he battles The Undead in three films, a reboot/remake, and a STARZ series that ran for three seasons. On this episode we celebrate the magic, inventiveness, imagery, and world creation that Raimi & Campbell have built careers on. It's a fun talk, so take a listen and let us know what you think. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks!

Direct download: EvilDead.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:43am EDT

"It Was Bad, Mama. They Laughed at Me. Hold Me, Mama. Please Hold Me" .  . . The Lasting Legacy of Brian DePalma's Carrie

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I swing back to a classic of the Horror Genre, Brian DePalma's 1976 masterpiece of Suspense, Revenge, and Terror, Carrie. With a "Who's Who" of 1970's first-time talent including: Nancy Allen, Amy Irving, William Katt, P.J. Soles, and John Travolta, but the heart, soul, and pain of this film lays in the performance of (Oscar-nominated) Sissy Spacek. Spacek's scenes with Piper Laurie (her screen mother) are incredibly moving, adding to an already powerful depiction of bullying, teenage angst, and religious fundamentalism. 

It's great to return to a classic. Take a listen as Ibrahim & I continue our exploration of the Horror Genre. 

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks. 

Direct download: Carrie_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Missing the Mark - Alex Proyas' The Crow

On this week's episode, Mr. Chavez & I travel back to 1994 to look at Alex Proyas' cult classic, The Crow. Featuring incredible set design and production value, The Crow has captured the imagination and admiration of audiences and visual artists, alike. This week Ibrahim & I discuss how this film misses the mark and the ideas we have in (the simple changes)  that would have moved the film in the direction of the masterpiece that it deserves to be. Positives & Negatives are given equal weight. Take a listen and let us know if you agree. 

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks! 

Direct download: TheCrow_2.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 1:28pm EDT

The Undying Dead: A Continuing Discussion of Vampires (Vampires Part IV)

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Mr. Chavez & I sit down to continue our exploration of those blood-sucking bastards the vampires. This week we discuss Neil Jordan's 1994 adaptation of Anne Rice's novel Interview with the Vampire featuring Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderas, Steven Rea, and Kirsten Dunst. We also look at Iranian-American writer/director Anna Lily Amanpour's 2014 directorial debute A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. Take a listen. The discussions just keep getting better and better. 

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks. 

Direct download: VampiresContinued.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:24pm EDT

Us & Them: The Horror of Jordan Peele

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I tear into the Horror genre on our way towards that most Terrifying of Holidays - Halloween. We start this series with a look at the films of Jordan Peele beginning backwards with Peele's 2019 Us and finish with his 2017 debut (one of the truly great debuts in cinema), Get Out. This week Mr. Chavez & I discuss race, race relations, racism, and the history of racism. There's a whole hell of a lot more to this episode, as we discuss the history of Horror, and the influences that have gone into creating these unique films from an imaginative and ground-breaking artist. There's a lot to digest here. We'd love for you to come on board with us. Many Thanks.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com.

Direct download: PeeleJordan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:38am EDT

Yakuza, Soldier, Swordmaker, Mercenary, Bad Ass: The Legend of Shinichi "Sonny" Chiba (January 22, 1939 - August 19, 2021)

On August 19th the world lost one of the great stars of action cinema with the passing of Shinichi Chiba, known throughout the world as Sonny Chiba. Rising to fame in 60's and early 70's Japanese Cinema, Chiba would play one of the great anti-heroes of the movies - Takuma Tsurugi (renamed Terry in the English dub) in 1974's The Streetfighter. A brutal, bloody, and brilliantly over-the-top Karate action film which rocketed Chiba to fame, The Streetfighter series is one of the most influential and compelling action stories ever made. This week we pay tribute to this great actor looking at The Streetfighter, Return of the Streetfighter, and The Streetfighter's Last Revenge (all three films released in 1974). Take a listen . . . it's a really fun talk.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com - Many Thanks.

 

Direct download: SonnyChibaRemembered.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:22am EDT

The History of Rock 'N Roll Part VI: The Dream is Over - John Lennon & George Harrison

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I continue our discussion of The Beatles with a special focus on John Lennon & George Harrison. This week we look at the late career work of these exceptional artists; From hit recordings through political stances and spiritual explorations, both of these men made incredible contributions to the society  of the 1960's, 70's, 80's, and 90's. This week we take a look at these two artists as they are profiled in Martin Scorsese's George Harrison: Living in the Material World (2011), Andrew Solt's Imagine (1988), David Leaf & John Scheinfeld's The U.S. Vs. John Lennon (2006), and Michael Epstein's John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky. Take a listen as we discuss their creative, culture-changing, and controversial lives.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks.

Direct download: HarrisonLennon.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:57am EDT

Favella Masterpiece - Fernando Meirelles & Kátia Lund's City of God

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss a great film that deserves praise, 2002's City of God directed by Fernando Meirelles & Kátia Lund. There's not a whole lot that I can say in this post that isn't better realized in this new episode. Take a listen as we discuss the technical, acting, religious, cultural, linguistic, and artistic achievements of this incredible film. Take a listen . . . It's a fun and interesting episode.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks.

Direct download: Favella.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 5:02am EDT

Perhaps Best Known For . . . a Documentary about Val Kilmer

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I discuss Leo Scott & Ting Poo's Val (2021). We differ on our impressions of this new film, however this is an exciting and balanced episode. Take a listen as Ibrahim and I discuss the career of Val Kilmer; the triumphs, mistakes, and legend of Val Kilmer. We don't completely agree, but the conversation is a lot of fun. Take a listen as we discuss this new film now playing on Amazon.

Thanks for the continued love and support. Questions, Compliments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks.

Direct download: Val.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:29am EDT

The Branches, The Wind, & The Rain: Florian Zeller's The Father

This week Ibrahim & I discuss a wonderful new film featuring an exceptional performance from the iconic Welsh actor, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Florian Zeller's The Father. Please make time to watch this beautifully told, intricately paced and structured story centering on the slow mental deterioration of a man (Hopkins) brought on by advancing age. At 84 Hopkins continues to surprise, touch, and endear himself to audiences. The Father is a truly magnificent, late-career performance with wonderful supporting performances from Oscar winner Olivia Colman (The Favourite 2018), Olivia Williams, Mark Gatiss, Rufus Sewell and Imogen Poots. This is a painful film to watch, however it is also touching and - finally - affirming. Please give it a chance.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Thank you for your continued support.

* Please note: This is a film best experience with as little information as possible. We recommend that you watch the film before listening to this podcast as we give away many plot details in our discussion and critique of the film*

 

 

Direct download: TheFatherHopkins.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:44am EDT

Subtext & DoubleCross in Steven Soderbergh's No Sudden Move

This week Ibrahim & I are thrilled to recommend a new film playing on HBOMax -  Steven Soderbergh's No Sudden Move. For over 30 years, Soderbergh has been an exceptional filmmaker, moving in and out of various genres, styles, and box office returns. From his debut with 1989's Sex, Lies, and Videotapes thru Oscar-winning films - Traffic and Erin Brockovich (both 2000), Box Office Hits - Out of Sight (1998) The Oceans Trilogy (2001-2007) and cult classics Haywire (2012) and The Limey (1999), Soderbergh has proven to be one of the most consistently rewarding filmmakers working today. No Sudden Move is easily one of his bests. Featuring exceptional performances from Don Cheadle, Benicio del Toro, David Harbour, Kieran Culkin, Ray Liotta, Brendan Fraser, Frankie Shaw, Julia Fox, (my good friend) David Mishevitz, and Bill Duke doing his Bill Duke thing. You should make time for this classic in waiting. 

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com.

Direct download: NoSuddenMovesFinal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:27am EDT

"Because we had to remember them." - Paul McCartney

McCartney 3, 2, 1

This week Ibrahim & I continue our exploration of Rock 'N Roll with a look at the new 6-Part HULU docu-series, McCartney 3, 2, 1. For fans there doesn't seem a whole lot left to say about Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, & Ringo Starr, however the thrill of this documentary comes from an examination by one of the lads who was there from the beginning, as well as a world-renowned producer and fan of the music. It's a thrill to watch the excitement between Paul McCartney and Rick Rubin as they talk about the history of Rock 'N Roll, the band, the songs, and the walk through the cultural landscape of McCartney's 60+ years as a musician and recording artist. This is a fun, fascinating, and incredibly rewarding series. Mr. Chavez & I are thrilled to be digging further into this great music. Enjoy.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com.

Direct download: BeatlesFan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am EDT

Get to the Point:         The Problems, Excess, & Failure of        Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I go back to a favorite of ours and once again scream into the nothingness in our attempts to challenge the cult of Quentin Tarantino. In 2015 Tarantino gathered an incredible cast including: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Walton Goggins, Channing Tatum, Demién Bichir, and Channing Tatum for a film that ultimately stands as Tarantino's weakest effort. The Hateful 8 is a problematic film that was showered with praise from many critics. On this episode, Ibrahim & I go against the praise, discussing our problems with the film and examining how these problems have evolved and overwhelmed the films in Tarantino's nearly 30 years as a filmmaker. You may not agree with us, but it's hard to disagree that our points are not well considered, developed, and argued.

Take a listen and see if you agree. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks.

Direct download: Hateful8Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:45am EDT

Waters of Dread: Robert Egger's The Lighthouse

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I continue our look into fascinating, challenging, and underseen cinema. On this episode we look at Robert Egger's 2019 sophomore effort, The Lighthouse. This is a truly rare thing in popular cinema, a film of enormous power and challenging stylistic choices. From it's Black & White, 1.19:1 aspect ratio (approximating 19th Century photography), Eggers focuses a story on the insanity that will come from isolation and paranoia. With incredible performances by Wilem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson, this is easily one of the best films of 2019 and the decade itself. Take a listen as we take a look at this insantiy.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks. 

 

Direct download: LightHouseFinal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:57pm EDT

Doomed Journey of Lost Souls: H.G. Wells'      The Island of Dr. Moreau

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss a Sci-Fi Classic, H.G. Wells' The Island of Dr. Moreau. With three English language productions, Wells' story has proven problematic for numerous filmmakers. This week we take a look at Erle C. Kenton's Island of Lost Souls (1932), featuring Charles Laughton & Bela Lugosi and the Richard Stanley/John Frankenheimer disaster, The Island of Dr. Moreau. With a bizarre, strange, and surprisingly enjoyable performance by Marlon Brando, a lackluster and disengaged Val Kilmer, and a thoroughly disgusted (and possibly suicidal) David Thewlis, this mess of a movie is truly bizarre requiring it's own documentary Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau (2014). Take a listen. We continue to have fun doing this. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks!

Direct download: IslandMoreauHavoc.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:41pm EDT

History of Rock N Roll Part IV: The Beatles - FourHeaded Phenomenon

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I continue to wind our legs, ears, and memories through The History of Rock N Roll, with a look at - arguably - The Greatest Band of All Time: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, & Ringo Starr - The Beatles. Looking at 1964's Richard Lester directed A Hard Day's Night and Ron Howard's 2016 documentary The Beatles: Eight Days a Week, my partner and I discuss the history, artistry, influence, and importance of this great band. Take a listen to get another opinion on this great band. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be sent to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks.

Direct download: BeatlesEarlyYears.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:59am EDT

Homey Don't Play That!

Remembering Paul Mooney (August 04, 1941 - May 19, 2021)

A walk through memories of stand-up comedy lit by the fire of Paul Mooney's passing at the age of 79. Mooney was one of the greatest - and one of the most divisive - comics to ever pick up a microphone. I don't know when I first heard him, but I know that it was a life-changing experience. On this episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, I go solo to talk Mooney's influence in the world of stand-up comedy and what he meant to me personally. A lot of great memories. My little tribute to one of the greatest comics of all time.

Parental Advisory:

Explicit Lyrics

I hope I don't offend, but there is no other way to remember a great comic without discussing their material in it's complete and original offensiveness. I hope you understand. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks!

Direct download: Mooney.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:05pm EDT

Ignoring the Bear - Ari Aster's Midsommar

This week Ibrahim & I tackle Ari Aster's 2019 "Folk Horror" film, Midsommar . . . a film that takes  extreme chances, challenging its audience like few multi-screen attractions do. This is a great film that is difficult to recommend only because of the limitations of so much of today's movie-going audience (we really need to pick it up). Take a watch and let us know if you agree. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Thanks for the continued support.

Direct download: MidsommarFinal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

Printing the Legend: John Ford's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss a classic of Western Cinema - and arguably one of the greatest films ever made - John Ford's The Man Who Shot LIberty Valance. We discuss the Western, Mythology & Legend, and - of course -  Ford Stewart & Wayne. Take a listen . . . it's a fun look into a respected film that is - oftentimes - overshadowed by so much of what Ford and Wayne created. Let us know what you think. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Thanks!

Direct download: TheManWhoShotLibertyValance.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:48pm EDT

History of Rock 'N Roll Part III: Bob Dylan Continued - Masked and Unmasked

This week Ibrahim & I continue looking at the career and artistry of Bob Dylan. Focusing on Dylan's career following his Triumph motorcycle accident (July 29, 1966) and his re-emergence, with Ibrahim & I focusing on The 1975 Rolling Thunder Tour  (chronicled in Martin Scorsese's excellent Netflix documentary, Rolling Thunder Revue). We also look at Todd Hayne's 2007 I'm Not There and Larry Charles' Masked & Anonymous (2003). This is a fun one. Take a listen and let us know what you think. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Thanks!

Direct download: MaskedAndUnmasked.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:59am EDT

History of Rock 'N Roll Part II: Bob Dylan - Original Vagabond

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I continue our look at The History of Rock 'N Roll looking at the career, influence, and artistry of Bob Dylan.  Take a listen as we look at this incredibly influential artist through the eyes of D.A. Pennebaker's 1967 behind-the-scenes documentary Don't Look Back and Martin Scorsese's early career-spanning documentary No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (2005). Take a listen as we profile one of the most important artists of the 20th Century and - arguably - the most important songwriter in the English language.

Thanks for the continued Love & Support. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com.

Direct download: OriginalVagabond.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:18pm EDT

Hanging Onto Yesterday - The Birth, Evolution, and Death of The Video Store

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss memories of the video store . . . whether the Mom & Pop stores, the chain stores, and the monster that ate it all - Blockbuster Video. We discuss the anarchy and danger of the Mom & Pop versus the bulldozer that was Blockbuster Video and later Netflix and the streaming revolution. For this episode we focus on our memories of growing up on cable television, the library, and the video store, and we couple this with two streaming documentaries that examine this history: Netflix's The Last Blockbuster and (streaming free on Tubi) Rewind This. This is a damn good time remembering this soul and intellectual formative period. Take a listen and see how much of it you can remember.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks for the Continued Support.

Direct download: VideoStoresFinal.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 1:20am EDT

"Another way to say 'Mexican'" - Luis Valdez's Zoot Suit

This week Mr. Chavez and I get a bit personal with a discussion of a classic in Chicano Cinema . . . 1981's Luis Valdez directed Zoot Suit. The story of Enrique "Hank" Leyvas (Reyna in the theatrical play and film) and his - and his crews' - railroading into San Quentin for the 1941"Sleepy Lagoon" Murder. In a case that was a clear abuse of the justice system, Leyvas was pushed through a trial that was little more than a circus designed to give the impression of justice. Valdez's film is photographed and performed as the play itself was produced both in Los Angeles and on Broadway. Mr. Chavez and I examine the cultural importance of the film, but also the history of Los Angeles, race-relations, and the ongoing fight for representation. This is an episode that - definitely - grabbed a hold of both of us and carried us to places that deserve discussion, but which are so often ignored. Take a listen. We think you may learn a li'l bit about a hidden history.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks.

Direct download: ThePachuco.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:53pm EDT

Magic of The Illusion or Stepping Back from the Rabbit - Christopher Nolan's TENET

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss the problems and overreach of Christopher Nolan's Tenet (2020). For a filmmaker as bold, inventive, and risk-taking as Christopher Nolan, Tenet is a serious letdown. Take a listen as we discuss the film's various flaws and disappointments, as well as what does work about the film. We went for a fair and balanced discussion. We hope you see it that way. Thanks for listening.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com.

Direct download: TENET.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 11:19pm EDT

John Waters - Examining the Genre-Bending & Culture-Crashing Art of a Filth Icon

Has there ever been a figure in popular (or even underground) culture quite like Baltimore's John Waters? I would argue that Mr. Waters is a unique and essential artist in the history of American Cinema. From his early days as an underground filmmaker with such classics as Multiple Maniacs (1970), Female Trouble (1974), and - of course - 1972's Pink Flamingos, thru his mainstream breakthroughs, including Hairspray (1988), Cry-Baby (1990), and Serial Mom (1994), Waters  - over a period of 50 years - has been a truly visionary artist. These are not easy films to watch, but they were never meant to be. Waters' work has always been a kind of litmus test determining "squareness", hypocrisy, and narrow-mindedness. If you have a problem with Waters, then most likely your an uptight prick. John Waters - along with a loyal production crew (Pat Moran, Vincent Peranio, Van Smith) and stable of actors (Mink Stole, David Lochary, Edith Massey, and - later - Ricki Lake, Patty Hearst, Traci Lords) defined the "Midnight Movie" and subversive cinema. All of this was made possible through Waters' culture-challenging attack and his collaboration with the iconic Drag Queen, Harris Glenn Milstead, better known as Divine (1945-1988). A fantastic documentary - I Am Divine - profiles the life and times of the great performer.

This was a lot of fun. Take a listen and let us know what you think. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks.

 

Direct download: JohnWatersFilthElder.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:51am EDT

The Devil's Music: The Birth of Rock 'N Roll - Little Richard, Bo Diddley, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, & Charles Edward Anderson Berry

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss the power, influence, and long-lasting cultural and artistic power of Rock 'N Roll Music. From it's origins in the Blues, Rhythm & Blues, and Country Music thru the pairing down of a "Big Band Sound" and the power of Gospel and The Church, Rock 'N Roll is often a misunderstood and difficult subject to discuss. We're going to include looks at Great Balls of Fire (1989 Dir. Jim McBride), La Bamba (1987 Dir. Luis Valdez), The Buddy Holly Story (1978 Dir. Steve Rash), and Chuck Berry: Hail, Hail Rock 'N Roll (1987 Dir. Taylor Hackford) in order to gain a better understanding of the music, the artists, and the times that created these sounds.

At the end of the day all we're trying to do is bring a bit of understanding and convey our appreciation and admiration for this music. Hail, Hail Rock 'N Roll!

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks For Your Continued Love & Support.

Direct download: HistoryRNRPartI.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:19am EDT

I Want My MTV - A Revolution in Music, Image, & Popular Culture

A hell of a stroll down memory lane as Ibrahim & I look back at the power and impact of Mtv. From it's humble beginnings as a throw-away cable channel showcasing popular artists - Top 20 Music and Youth Culture - the channel would rapidly evolve into a driving force in American & World culture. There was a time when Mtv gave us music to listen to, told us what to wear, opened us up to cultural differences and change. The channel brought us dance parties (Spring Break & Club Mtv), game shows, (Remote Control), niche shows (Headbanger's Ball, 120 Minutes, & Yo! Mtv Raps), and news (Mtv News, The Week in Rock, & The Great Kurt Loder). From Michael Jackson crashing through artistic racial barriers to Madonna transforming the very definition of entertainer, Mtv - in its first decade was an artistic and  cultural game-changer. Take a listen to a couple of old  bastards as they reminisce on how great the ride was.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Our Continued Love & Thanks!

Direct download: MemoriesOfMtv.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 5:02am EDT

Knight, Priest, King: Remembering the Many Faces of Max Von Sydow (4/10/29 - 03/08/20)

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to remember the great Swedish actor, Max Von Sydow. A brilliant actor who starred in some of the most iconic films of our time, Von Sydow passed away last March a few short weeks away from his 91st birthday. This week we discuss the great actor's  career and the various factors that made him unforgettable over a period of seven decades and over 150 films. From his breakthrough role in Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal thru his roles as both Jesus (The Greatest Story Ever Told) and The Devil (Needful Things), Father Merrin (The Exorcist), and numerous supporting roles for directors from Steven Spielberg (MInority Report) and David Lynch (Dune) to Woody Allen (Hannah & Her Sisters) and Martin Scorsese (Shutter Island), Von Sydow proved an actor of incredible range, authority, and sensitivity.

It was a pleasure to remember and discuss this great actor. Take a listen and let us know what you think. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks!

Direct download: MaxVonSydow.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:54pm EDT

"Two Together, Are Always Going Somewhere." Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958)

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to talk Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece, Vertigo, a film that has only grown in power and importance since first playing in theaters in 1958. Hitchcock's examination of obsession, fear, and uncertainty continues to be cited on Lists of the Greatest Films Ever Made. It was a hell of a time for Ibrahim & I to sit down and discuss Hitchcock, James Stewart, Kim Novack, and one of the great Bernard Herrmann scores. Take a a listen and let us know what you think. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks!

Direct download: Vertigo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:05am EDT

It's All in the Title - Sydney Pollack's adaptation of Horace McCoy's They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

A solo episode to close out March. Take a listen as I sit down to give my feelings on director Sydney Pollack's exceptional interpretation of Horace McCoy's They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969). Featuring Jane Fonda, Michael Sarazin, Bonnie Bedelia, Bruce Dern, Susannah York, Gig Young, and Red Buttons. I've got a whole lot to say about the ugliness of humanity and the never-ending struggle of hope. Take a listen. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com.

Direct download: Horses.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:28pm EDT

Hannibal Lecter: The Devouring Oracle

In 1981 Thomas Harris published Red Dragon and introduced the world to one of the most iconic figures in all of literature, and soon after, cinema - Dr. Hannibal Lecter. In 1986 Director Michael Mann would bring Lecter to the screen through the person of the great Scottish actor, Brian Cox. Cox would deliver a stunning performance as the cannibal doctor in Mann's Mindhunter. Soon afterwards Director Jonathan Demme would direct the definitive Lecter film, The Silence of the Lambs (1991) introducing the movie-going public to Agent (in training) Clarice Starling - Jodie Foster in an Academy-Award winning performance, Ted Levine as the serial killer Jame "Buffalo Bill" Gumb, and - in the performance that would define the character - Sir Anthony Hopkins as Lecter. On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down the discuss the brilliance of this performance and the films showcasing this series. We discuss the first two films, Ridley Scott's Hannibal (2001), and - finally - Brett Ratner's re-imagining of the first film 2002's Red Dragon. Take a listen. It's a real good talk. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks!

Direct download: HannibalLecter.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:47pm EDT

One Question Answered, Five Questions Raised - David Fincher's Zodiac (2007)

On this week's WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to look at a David Fincher Masterpiece - 2007's Zodiac, profiling the decades long search for The Zodiac Killer. This is an incredible film with award-caliber performances from Jake Gylenhaal as cartoonist Robert Graysmith (on whom this narrative is based and centered around), Mark Ruffalo as San Francisco inspector David Toschi, Robert Downey Jr. as San Francisco Chronicle reporter Paul Avery, and a host of brilliant supporting performances. This week we look at the obsession and paranoia that builds from a case of this type. This is a fantastic film and a thrill for the two of us to sit down and discuss. Take a listen and let us know what you think. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks. 

Direct download: Zodiac.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am EDT

Spike Lee Returns to a Sweltering New York Summer - Summer of Sam (1999)

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I continue looking at the paranoia of the summer of '77. In that year, David Berkowitz would spread fear and terror throughout the boroughs of New York City. Murdering random couples and women, The Son of Sam (as he was known), would create an environment of paranoia and fear that is expertly recreated by filmmaker Spike Lee in one of his most underrated and underseen pictures. This is an incredible film from an exceptional American filmmaker. Take a listen as Ibrahim & I discuss it's cinematic and power and importance in Lee's filmography.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks for Your Continued Love & Support.

Direct download: SpikesSummer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:05pm EDT

You Got To Know When To Hold 'Em, Know When To Fold 'Em - Goodbye Los Angeles

(2000 - 2020)

This week I take a special trip down memory lane saying goodbye to the city I've called home for over 20 years. I talk about moving to Los Angeles in 2000 and the struggles to survive as a substitute teacher, valet, taxman, insurance salesman, private tutor, actor, Comedy Store doorman, and comedian. It's been rough and rocky traveling, but it was the best decision that I've ever made. Now that it has come to an end, it's important to look to the future and figure out how to play the next hand.

Thanks for all of your love and support. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks!

Direct download: GoodbyeLA.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Night Stalker: An Unexplored "Evil"

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I begin a study of serial killers, both non-fiction and fictional. This week we look at the Netflix 4-Episode Limited Series Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer, profiling the home invasions, rapes, murders and fear that captivated Los Angeles during a 14-month terror spree. Featuring interviews with the lead investigators, Gil Carrillo & Frank Salerno, news-anchors of the time, and survivors and family members of the victims, the docu-series covers a great deal of the story. Take a listen as we discuss both our admiration and problems with the series. 

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Our Thanks For Your Continued Love & Support. 

Direct download: NightStalker.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:05pm EDT

Love in the Hopelessness of Noir Nicholas Ray's They Live by Night (1947) & On Dangerous Ground (1952)

A solo episode focusing on the brilliance and beauty of Director Nicholas Ray. This week I go back to Noir, looking at Ray's They Live by Night & On Dangerous Ground. Great films coupled with thoughtful commentary. Take a listen. 

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com.  Many Thanks!

Direct download: NicholasRayNoir.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

"Everybody She Plays With Dies."

The Femmes Fatales of Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity and Paul Verhoeven's Basic Instinct

Femme Fatales on this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos. This week Ibrahim & I sit down to look at the femme fatale in cinema focusing on the very first - Barbara Stanwyck in Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity (1944) & Sharon Stone in Paul Verhoeven's Basic Instinct (1992). These are two very different films that showcase the femme fatale in all of its controversial existence. Take a listen as we discuss the history of Noir and the evolution of the femme fatale in this world.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks.

 

Direct download: BadLadies.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:06pm EDT

Watching & Thinking: James Spader & The Dark Roads

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Mr. Chavez & I take a look at two exceptional films starring James Spader - 1989's sex, lies, & videotape and 2002's Secretary. Two fascinating films that examine the difficult subject of voyeurism, BDSM, and sexual exploration. There's a great deal to say, so take a listen to this enlightening and often funny conversation between two film friends.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks.

Direct download: Spader.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:18am EDT

The Violence of Love: Psychological & Physical Abuse in Adrian Lyne's  9 1/2 Weeks and Sam Taylor-Johnson's Fifty Shades of Grey

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I continue our look at sex, love, relationships, and emotional struggle. This week's episode focuses on Adrian Lyne's 1986 9 1/2 Weeks as well as Sam Taylor-Johnson's Fifty Shades of Grey from 2015. Two films that beg for re-writes and re-imaginings. This is one of the few times when the films are lackluster, but the talk is still fun and grabs a hold of you. Take a listen and let us know what you think. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Continued Thanks. 

 

Direct download: BDSM.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:53pm EDT

Portraits of Passion & Pain - Bernardo Bertolucci's Last Tango in Paris & Nagisa Oshima's In the Realm of the Senses

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I continue to discuss Romance, Passion, Infatuation, and Sex with a look at two of the most controversial films ever made, Bernardo Bertolucci's 1972 Marlon Brando & Maria Schneider exploration of sex, yearning, desire, and deep sadness, Last Tango in Paris. We pair this exceptional film with an even more brazen exploration of sexual relations, Nagisa Oshima's 1976 classic In the Realm of the Senses. This is a film that neither Ibrahim nor I had seen before. We are thrilled to be talking about it for this episode. The less written, the better.

Take a listen and hear a thoughtful discussion. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Thanks for the continued love and support. 

Direct download: Sex__Infatuation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:26pm EDT

In the Kingdom of Kitsch - Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I begin the month of February with our first in a series of Romance movies. We start with Philip Kaufman's adaptation of author Milan Kundera's classic novel of romance and political upheaval in 1960's Prague, The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988). This is my first viewing and Ibrahim's third. There are always surprises with a new film. This week's episode helps us see those possibilities. With a cast including Daniel Day-Lewis, Juliette Binoche, & Lena Olin, this was a great experience and we're thrilled to be talking it for all of you great listeners.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Thanks!

 

Direct download: UnbearableLightnessOfBeing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am EDT

All Out of Bubblegum - John Carpenter Rings The Alarm - 1988's They Live 

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos Mr. Chavez & I sit down to talk one of the great B-Movie, Sci-Fi Classics, John Carpenter's They Live (1988). Science Fiction has traditionally been a genre that comments on the current state of society and culture. Carpenter's depiction of an alien invasion and the subsequent enslavement of the human race, is one of the greatest criticisms of 1980s Reagan Era Economics and the rise of Yuppie culture. With a surprisingly accomplished performance from Wrestling Icon "Rowdy" Roddy Piper as  John Nada - an "Everyman" of the Working Poor - and a great supporting performance from Keith David, this is an exceptional film that warned us of the dangers of the destruction of the Middle Class. Take a listen as we - once again - draw comparisons between art, culture, and the ugliness of politics. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks!

Direct download: TheyLiveFinal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:17pm EDT

The Many Children of Akira Kurosawa: Sturges & Fuqua's The Magnificent Seven & Pixar's A Bug's Life

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I continue discussing Akira Kurosawa's 1954 masterpiece Shichinin no samurai (Seven Samurai) with a look at the numerous films this film has directly and indirectly influenced. From Marvel's The Avengers (from 2008 on) thru John Landis' Three Amigos (1986), Sylvester Stallone's The Expendables series (2010/2012/2014), and Robert Aldrich's The Dirty Dozen (1967). For this episode we focus on John Sturges' 1960 American remake The Magnificent Seven, starring Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Eli Wallach, and Charles Bronson and Antoine Fuqua's The Magnificent Seven (2016) featuring Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Vincent D'Onofrio, and Ethan Hawke. Two good re-imaginings of a cinema classic, but the big discussion is devoted to the magic of computer animation and Pixar's 1998 overlooked classic, A Bug's Life. Sit back & Take a listen. We had a good time with this episode. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks.

Direct download: SamuraiInfluencesFinal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

"Once More, We Survive." - Akira Kurosawa's Shichinin no samurai - Seven Samurai 

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss what is arguably the greatest film in the history of cinema - Akira Kurosawa's 1954 jidaigeki (Japanese period drama) masterpiece, Seven Samurai. Featuring star-making performances by frequent Kurosawa collaborators, Takashi Shimura (as the Samurai leader, Kambei) and Japan's greatest star, Toshiro Mifune (as Kikuchiyo, the samurai eager for adventure and the chance to prove himself). It also has what may be the first depiction of building a team - a movie trope that would continue for decades in remakes (The Magnificent Seven) and adaptations (Pixar's A Bug's Life) and inspirations (The Ocean's Films, The Blues Brothers, etc.). We cannot hide our enthusiasm. Our love for this film is palpable. We hope you join us in our look at this incredible film. 

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Our Love & Thanks for Your Continued Support. 

Direct download: SevenSamurai.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:00pm EDT

"I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that."

Stanley Kubrick's - 2001 A Space Odyssey

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Mr. Chavez & I sit down to discuss a Sci-Fi Masterpiece, Stanley Kubrick's 2001 A Space Odyssey. A classic doesn't need a whole lot of explaining. Some may argue that everything that can be said about this film has already been said . . . well, the two of us disagree. Take a listen as we go a bit deeper and discover even greater nuances that this film has to offer. It's a fun conversation. Take a listen . . . it's always a good time. 

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks.

 

Direct download: 2001ASpaceOdyssey.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:11am EDT

"I don't know who to trust." 

Trust as a Hard Thing to Come By: Christian Nyby and Howard Hawks' The Thing from Another World (1951) and John Carpenter's The Thing (1982)

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Ibrahim & I close out 2020 with a look at the apocalypse . . . The Howard Hawks' Classic The Thing from Another World (1951) & The John Carpenter masterpiece The Thing. You're probably already familiar with both of these films, but it's always fun listening to fans gush over an exceptional work. Take a listen and let us know what you think. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Our Continued Thanks. 

 

Direct download: TheThing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:03pm EDT

One of God's Fools - The Zone in Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker

On this week's episode of WatchThis W//RickRamos, Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss one of the great achievements of Cinema, Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker. This late-70's era Russian existential masterpiece has rightfully been recognized as one of the most important films of Russian Cinema and an amazing examination of philosophical and psychological themes. There's little more that can be said in this introduction. We hope that you listen and discover this intelligent and challenging film for yourself. Take a listen and let us know what you think. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Our Continued Thanks & Appreciation. 

Direct download: Stalker-Tarkovsky.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:41am EDT

Madman With a Typewriter - The World of Sam Fuller: Shock Corridor (1963) & The Naked Kiss (1964)

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, I introduce Mr. Chavez to one of the great "B-Movie" directors in all of cinema . . . Sam Fuller. From humble beginnings through his years as a copy-boy, newspaper reporter, screenwriter, novelist, infantryman, and - finally - director, Fuller is one of the very few artists of the 20th Century who can honestly claim authenticity in his storytelling. Through Noir, War, Social Commentary, Thrillers, and Westerns, Fuller remains an impressive figure in The History of Cinema. This week, Ibrahim & I are thrilled to discuss and shine a light on a director you owe it to yourself to explore.

Take a listen and let us know what you think. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Our Thanks for Your Continued Love & Support.

Direct download: SamFullerShockNaked.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:20am EDT

"I am America. I'm a winner who lost every battle, up to and including the war. I am not the American nightmare. I am the American Dream. Period. That's why the system works. Because I am the system. Period."

The Life, Times, & Cinema of Richard Milhous Nixon - 37th President of the United States

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Mr. Chavez & I finish out our examination of Presidential Politics with a look at The Life & Times of Richard Milhous Nixon. The Vietnam War, The Watergate Scandal, and the subsequent resignation of the 37th president. There's a great deal to talk about and there are numerous parallels to our current political environment. This week we focus on Oliver Stone's Nixon (1995), Alan J. Pakula's All the President's Men (1976), and - finally - Robert Altman's Secret Honor (1984). Three great films that beautifully and powerfully capture the controversy, struggles, and nuances of Richard Nixon.

Take a listen and let us know what you think. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Our Continued Love & Thanks. 

Direct download: RichardNixon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:16am EDT

Blue-Collar Immigrant, Breaking All of the Rules - Belushi (2020)

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, I find myself flying solo because of audio problems. My good friend and podcast partner, Mr. Ibrahim Chavez, is unable to join me this week, so I find myself forced to go it alone. This week the podcast is dedicated to the memory of SNL Legend, John Belushi. From the First Class of "Not Ready for Prime-Time Players" through groundbreaking roles in National Lampoon's: Animal House (1978) & The Blues Brothers (1980), both from director John Landis, Belushi was a proven powerhouse. He was one of the greats and I love sitting down to remember this great comic through the recent Showtime documentary Belushi (2020 - Dir. R.J. Cutler). It doesn't stop there. I also look at the career of his cast-mate, Gilda Radner. With a recently released documentary from director Lisa D'Apolito - Love, Gilda (2018). That's the episode. Take a listen. It's a li'l bit personal. Hope you like it. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks for Your Continued Love & Support. 

 

Direct download: Belushi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:53am EDT

"A Patriot Must Always Be Ready To Defend His Country Against His Government" - Jim Garrison

Oliver Stone's JFK (1991)

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Mr. Chavez & I sit down to discuss a masterpiece of cinema, and Oliver Stone's greatest achievement, JFK (1991). Fifty-Seven years later, the controversy surrounding that fateful day in November continues to haunt our country. Oliver Stone's dramatization and exploration of the Kennedy Assination, the controversy surrounding the Warren Report, Louisiana District Attorney, Jim Garrison's prosecution of Louisiana Businessman, Clay Shaw (the only case ever brought to court regarding the Kennedy Assasination) and our nation's continued fascination with the paranoia and perceived conspiracy of the assassination shaped and drove one of the greatest films ever made. With an all-star cast including Kevin Costner as Garrison, Ed Asner, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, John Candy, Michael Rooker, Jay Sanders, Laurie Metcalf, Sissy Spacek, Joe Pesci, Tommy Lee Jones, and Gary Oldman. A truly great film that we are thrilled to discuss. Take a listen and let us know what you think. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Our Thanks for Your Continued Love & Support.

 

Direct download: JFKANnniversary.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:17am EDT

The Fat Man Won't Sing: Showtime's The Comey Rule 

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/RickRamos, Mr. Chavez & I sit down to discuss the Showtime original film, The Comey Rule. This is a hit-and-miss film that falls short of doing it's subject matter justice. Featuring Jeff Daniels as former F.B.I. Chief James Comey and Brendan Gleeson as President Donald J. Trump, as well as a host of character actors filling in various supporting roles, this is a film that had a great deal of potential, but is one that we take great issue with. I'll leave it at that, so that you can take a listen and determine for yourself if our criticism is fair and balanced. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Our Most Sincere Thanks for Your Continued Love & Support. 

Direct download: TheComeyRule.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:49pm EDT

Inventing the Past; Creating the Future; Controlling the Present - George Orwell's 1984 & V for Vendetta

On this week's cinematic adventure, Mr. Chavez & I sit down and continue our stroll through Politics, exploring cinema as a way of better understanding this strange and dangerous world. This week we take a look at one of the great works of literature, George Orwell's 1948 masterpiece 1984. This Michael Radford film has great beauty, power, and importance. It is a thrill to sit down and watch two greats, Sir John Hurt and  - in his last screen appearance - Richard Burton. We discuss the film and the source material for a continuing worried and paranoid look at "Groupthink" and "Big Brother" as it exists in our world. We couple this screening with the James McTiegue directed (Wachowski produced) V for Vendetta. Take a listen and feel free to contribute at gondoramos@yahoo.com if you agree, disagree, or have anything to add. Thanks for the continued love and support.

Direct download: 1984.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 1:28pm EDT

"There's Nothing As Trustworthy . . . As The Ordinary Mind-Of The Ordinary Man" - Lonesome Rhodes

November Goddammit! We're starting our dive into politics with one of the greatest looks into the media end of the political system - The Elia Kazan directed, Bud Schulberg scripted 1957 Classic    A Face in the Crowd. This is an incredibly important film that feels essential to our understanding of the current political system. Featuring a star-making debut from Andy Griffith, and supporting roles for Patricia Neal, Lee Remick, and Walter Matthau, there's not a great deal that I can put down on this one. All I want to say is that I found it an incredibly moving film that we should have paid attention to in 2015. The episode isn't fully focused on Kazan's film, as I veer off into a political rant on this, my 46th birthday. Take a listen and celebrate with me as I treat myself and you to one of the great warnings in cinematic history.

Thanks for the continued love and support. Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com

 

Direct download: FaceInTheCrowd.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:49am EDT

"Made me from dead. I love dead . . . hate living."

On this week's episode of WatchThis W/Rickramos, Ibrahim & I sit down to discuss one of the great stories of cinema, the James Whale directed Fankenstein (1931) & The Bride of Frankenstein (1935). The legend of Baron Victor (Henry in the original film) Frankenstein has enraptured audiences since it's first publication as Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus in 1818 by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. The novel was a sensation when first published, however it would become iconic after the iconic, star-making performance of English actor Boris Karloff. Karloff would become immortalized in his three portrayals of the creature - Frankenstein (1931), The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), and Son of Frankenstein (1939). 

Take a listen as Mr. Chavez & I discuss these great films and the Frankenstein mythology that rings true even in modern-day society.

Questions, Comments, Complaints, & Suggestions can be directed to gondoramos@yahoo.com. Many Thanks For Your Continued Love & Support.

Direct download: FrankensteinFinal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:39am EDT