Everything You Wanted To Know About FilmsTRIPS (But Were Afraid To Ask)

Who are you?

A: I’m Andrew Kannegiesser, which means strong and manly watering can. I live in London, Ontario. I used to study film academically and write essays and junk. Most of the dvds currently on my shelf are gifts from David or overdue at the Laurier library. 

D: Hi, I’m Dave. I live in southern Ontario, love film, and used a double major program as an excuse to study film history and theory. I’m also the reason the show keeps a clean tag, as tempting as it is to curse up a storm at certain films.

What is your show and how does it work?

A: FilmsTRIPS is basically a big episode of six degrees of separation. Technically seventy and counting at this point, but it’s a show where we talk about movies. Any movies. We trade the right to select and the only rule is that there must be SOME connection to the prior film at the level of performance or production. 

For instance, we’ve followed actors, composers, producers, cinematographers, editors and Brother Theodore, maybe. That said, I personally try and consider films that speak to each other in some way, rather than random for its own sake. 

D: Pretty much what he said, though I tend to select films which differ greatly from the films which preceded them, both for contrast and to keep us on our toes. So yeah, that’s why Superman: The Movie was followed up by 54.

Do you guys only watch Oscar winners, or like…

A: I’ve picked some embarrassingly bad films. We’ve also looked at some masterpieces too. I don’t think anyone truly argues that art cinema is the only form of it that’s worth your time. I mean Last Year At Marienbad is great but I don’t wanna watch it every day. Stuff like Robocop and Street Fighter are amazing films, even though they are not good films the way most people consider them. It’s fun to take a chance.

D: Nobody hates the supposed low / high culture divide more than me, and I think our choices in the show reflect that. Frankly, I am willing to watch just about anything.

That said, it would be far too easy to fall into the trap of looking at long beloved and / or long studied films. Really, what the hell could we really add to the conversation about Citizen Kane that hasn’t already been said? Hence the willingness to dive into some less charted territory, such as Father Goose and, God help us, The V.I.P.s.

What’s a good episode to start with?

A: I think we both agree the early episodes are fun but don’t really reflect what our show currently is. Part of that is inexperience because this was the first show I tried to create and not just join up for, so there was some growing pains for focus and audio quality. 

 I think if you want to hear us have a good focused discussion, start with Barton Fink or The Life Aquatic. My favourite episode is hands down The Last Unicorn. 

D: As the editor on the show, most of the early episodes are hard to listen to as I know I would tighten them up and fix many audio issues today. Many of those conversations, however, I think are pretty solid if you can overlook the technical failings.

As far as the episodes that work best all around, The Hunt for Red October surprised me in how tight and focused it ended up being. Likewise, Bigger than Life and American Pop might just be some of our best episodes of the show.

So do I need to start with episode one?

A: Honestly…..not really? In the interest of not repeating ourselves, we often refer back to concepts or themes discussed previously, but we try to keep the episodes reasonably self-contained. I mean, if you want to spend some hundred odd hours hearing us argue about Michael Mann, we won’t deter you! But life is too short for podcasts that require a prep course. 

Film podcasts are a dime a dozen. Why should we listen to yours?

A: Good question! I don’t think Dave and I claim to have any great expertise or authority – we just watch a lot of movies and like talking about them. If our show has value, I think it lies in illustrating connections – both the obvious ones that link our episodes, but how similar themes and techniques recur across cinema for wildly different purposes.

We strive to occupy the middle ground where you can follow along without, say, having a Masters degree or an encyclopaedic knowledge of global cinema, yet offering our listeners something more than “wow, The Last Movie is stupid and bad.” 

What’s a Wilfrid Laurier?

A: Dave and I both studied film theory and English at WLU, though we were a few years apart. I think we had maybe one class together?

It’s not like we were pals but the second I moved to Montreal and bumped into Dru Jeffries, who guested in Return of Swamp Thing. Him and Dave were doing a podcast together called 24 Panels Per Second. They had me on to discuss Green Lantern and the second I heard Dave’s voice I knew exactly who he was. 

24 Panels? I think you’ve mentioned that a few times. 

A: It was fun but it was Dru and Dave’s baby, so I’ll defer to him. 

D: 24 Panels was the podcast about comic books on film, hosted by myself and Dr. Dry Jeffries. The short version of how it came about was when I was writing a personal film blog (mercifully lost to the winds of time) and decided, just for the heck of it, to record a review of Batman: Under the Red Hood as an audio production. Dry, impressed by the review (or more likely by the fact that my audio wasn’t a distorted mess) reached out and pitched the idea of doing a podcast together. With no social life to speak of, I jumped at the chance. Funny enough, I found I had a real love for podcasting, and have been up to it ever since.

Anything else we should know going in?

A: Yeah, that’ll save airtime. 

Auteur theory is the idea that a certain class of directors express a painterly and completely personalized work that expresses some core concepts over time. Basically postwar French theorists realizing that every Hitchcock film has a number of recurring story and style techniques that recur. Doesn’t necessarily mean the movies have to be good – see a Michael Bay film or two and you know it when you see it. 

Laura Mulvey theorized on the influence cinema has on male subjectivity and noticed that films themselves, in the formal depiction of women, seem to develop a heterosexual desire towards female bodies. In short, men are in film to look, and edits/perspective are linked to them. Women exist to be looked at by the cast and audience alike. 

Realism is one dominant tendency in film that attempts to present the world in an aestheticized but grounded way. Postwar Italy is a good place to look, where films are real looks at real life made largely by amateurs. Formalism is the expression of cinema as a technical spectacle – the exit to heaven in All That Jazz, the kiss in Punch Drunk Love, the club scene in Enemy – these are scenes meant to show is what cinema can do. A movie like Drive absolutely revels in its movie-ness. 

John Landis forgot about labor laws and three people died. Elia Kazan and Ward Bond stooged out their buddies as communists. And not even Raymond Chandler knows who killed Owen Taylor in The Big Sleep. 

D: The Cold War is a period of geopolitical tension between the Western Bloc and Eastern Bloc which ran approximately between 1946 and 1991 (the fall of the Soviet Union). Rooted in political and ideological differences between the two groups (along with a long history I am not prepared to write up in depth for this FAQ), the conflict was referred to as “cold” because there was no direct, wide scale fighting between the two sides. Plenty of proxy wars and arms races, though.

Tiger’s Milk, while perhaps best known as a nutritional bar introduced in the 1960s, came to our attention as a God-forsaken nutritional drink cooked up by Walter Matthau in Bigger than Life. Both fascinating and repulsive, the drink has remained a point of fixation for both Andrew and myself.

Doctor Who is a British television program which launched on November 23rd, 1963. The series follows the adventures of a humanoid alien known only as The Doctor, who travels through time and space in their ship called the TARDIS. Able to regenerate their body into a new form in a time of great need (otherwise known as needing to recast the role), The Doctor has had fourteen in canon incarnations thus far. These do not account for a wide variety of non-canonical incarnations, such as “Dr. Who” played by Peter Cushing in the Dalek films of the 1960s. It also happens to be my favourite television program.

What’s your gear setup for the show?

Software: Skype for the original call, Audacity for recording and mixing, Auxy Compact for the original intro/outro themes, and Reason 10 for all other show music.

Hardware: For recording, Dave uses a Yeti condenser microphone; Andrew relies on the generic onboard dynamic mic on his laptop, and sometimes jazzes it up with a wired USB dynamic mic (also very generic). 

For music, Andrew relies on his Korg microKORG, Akai MPK Mini MIDI controller, Yamaha P-115 digital piano, and Epiphone Les Paul Special II.