Vintage Sand



Join the intrepid trio of Josh, Michael and John as we explore the history of film from the silent era through todays releases, and from Hollywood to the far reaches of world cinema. Through lively discussion and occasional argument, these three old friends will take the listener on a highly opinionated tour of some of the more obscure recesses of film studies. If, as Alfred Hitchcock was fond of saying, film is life with the boring bits left out, then Vintage Sand will be film study with the boring bits left out. The creators will always approach film from the point of view of the fan, which above anything else defines who we are. From the obscure to the classic and back again, come with us and recall and rejoice in the joys of the big screen.


  • Vintage Sand Episode 29: Home Movies: The Best of 2020

    Vintage Sand Episode 29: Home Movies: The Best of 2020

    06/05/2021 Duration: 01h28min

    It was a year, and an Oscars ceremony, unlike any other in memory. That being said, there were definitely many films, both big and small, that we think will stand the test of time and which folks may still be watching 50 years from now. So join us for the ride as we explore some of 2020’s most memorable films, from Nomadland to Palm Springs and from Da 5 Bloods to Minari; it’s our Journal of the Plague year. Whatever our feelings about the films of 2020, though, Episode 29 is a cause for celebration for us. It is the first time in 14 months that John, Michael and I were able to record the episode live and together in the same room. All due respect and love to the makers of Zoom, which allowed us to continue the podcast through this miserable year, but this was a reminder of why we started Vintage Sand in the first place and why we so enjoy creating it. We hope that the joy we felt in really working together again will be contagious for our fans, and that you will all stay safe and take care. As Fern says, we

  • Vintage Sand Episode 28: Everybody Knows the Score

    Vintage Sand Episode 28: Everybody Knows the Score

    28/03/2021 Duration: 01h23min

    Welcome to Episode 28 of Vintage Sand, your Film History podcast. In this episode, Everybody Knows the Score, we explore some of the best soundtracks in the history of film. For our purposes this time out, we are focusing strictly on non-diagetic (“background”) music written for instruments and/or voice for a particular film. So we are not focusing on… • …songs written for a soundtrack. This rules out both musicals and collections ranging from Isaac Hayes’ music for Shaft to Aimee Mann’s original songs for Magnolia. • …curated collections of songs by various artists. We call this the T-Bone Burnett Rule. Choosing songs for a film is an art in itself, and such directors as Scorsese, Tarantino, both our favorite Andersons and the Coen Brothers are among the masters. A worthy endeavor if done well, but another art form entirely. • …collections of classical pieces by one composer (Manhattan, for example) or multiple composers (think 2001 and The Tree of Life) So we range from Golden Age Hollywood masters like M

  • Vintage Sand Episode 27: Directors Cut: Bong Jun-ho

    Vintage Sand Episode 27: Director's Cut: Bong Jun-ho

    28/02/2021 Duration: 01h28min

    Team Vintage Sand returns with Bong Jun-ho: Director’s Cut, our study of the director who, following last year’s Oscars, may now properly be called one of the world’s most important filmmakers. While "Parasite" brought him Oscars, a Palme d’Or and international fame, Bong has been making his brilliant, iconoclastic films for nearly two decades. As we examine all seven of Bong’s feature films, several things become clear. The first is that he is a true poet of dislocation. South Korea has transformed from a relatively sleepy backwater to late-capitalist tech powerhouse in only a couple of decades. While the nation appears prosperous from the outside, Bong’s films directly and implicitly tell the story of what the sudden change has meant in terms of economic insecurity, fracturing family relationships and a general mistrust and lack of respect for those in authority. But what makes Bong truly unique is that he may be the most adept director in history at making sudden and frequent tonal shifts feel organic to h

  • Vintage Sand Episode 26: Alternate Oscars - 1970s Edition

    Vintage Sand Episode 26: Alternate Oscars - 1970's Edition

    08/12/2020 Duration: 01h39min

    Once again, Team Vintage Sand returns to pay tribute to Danny Peary’s wonderful 1993 book "Alternate Oscars"; this time, our focus is the 1970’s, which many call the greatest decade in the history of American film. If this is so, it’s because for a brief shining moment, from "Easy Rider" to the birth of the tyranny of opening weekend grosses engendered by films like "Jaws" and "Star Wars", the most powerful figure in Hollywood was the director. The studios had collapsed under their own weight at the end of the ’60’s, and the Film School Generation of directors, inspired by American mavericks and the French New Wave alike, were handed the keys. This was the generation of Scorsese, Coppola, De Palma, Spielberg, Lucas, Bogdanovich, Friedkin, Rafelson and some kindred spirit Hollywood vets like Altman and Ashby. Can you imagine a system that was able to produce "Godfather, Part II" and "Chinatown" in the same year? As Peter Biskind relates in his essential "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls". it was all over by the middl

  • Vintage Sand Episode 25: Election Day Special: Our Favorite American Political Films

    Vintage Sand Episode 25: Election Day Special: Our Favorite American Political Films

    03/11/2020 Duration: 01h52min

    With the most important election of our lifetimes upon us, Team Vintage Sand celebrates its Silver episode by exploring our favorite political films Made in the USA. “Political film” is a very difficult term to define, and we try to examine the idea through a number of different lenses. After all, one might argue that in a sense, all films are political. There are films that deal with specific historical figures, from Lincoln to Huey Long to W. There are films that focus on the political process, from "Mr. Smith" to "Advise and Consent" to "The Candidate". You have more conventional comedies and dramas that use politics as a background, from "State of the Union" and "Born Yesterday" to "Dave", "The American President" and Eastwood’s "Absolute Power". Occasionally, the “political film” takes the form of satire, in works ranging from "Duck Soup" to "Dr. Strangelove" to "Idiocracy". Politics also frequently appears under the umbrella of genre, particularly horror and science fiction, as exemplified by films like

  • Vintage Sand Episode 24: Doing the Right Thing, Volume II

    Vintage Sand Episode 24: Doing the Right Thing, Volume II

    24/10/2020 Duration: 01h10min

    In this episode, the second part of our exploration of African Americans in film, Team Vintage Sand shifts its focus to the people behind the camera. Remember that it was not until Gordon Parks directed his autobiographical "The Learning Tree" in 1969 that Hollywood released a major film by a black director. What followed in its wake was the mixed blessing of “Blaxploitation” in the early 1970’s, which in turn inspired the first major wave of black directors, led by Spike Lee and John Singleton in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Now, at the turn of a new decade, we are witnessing a golden era for Black filmmakers, led by the commercial and artistic successes of artists like Ryan Coogler, Ava Duvernay, Barry Jenkins, Jordan Peele and many others. And we are also beginning to see, especially through the efforts of Tyler Perry, the first major studios created and owned by African-American artists and financiers. Our goal in this episode is twofold. On one hand, we talk about some of the lesser-known and forgotten

  • Vintage Sand Episode 23 - Doing the Right Thing, Volume I

    Vintage Sand Episode 23 - Doing the Right Thing, Volume I

    29/08/2020 Duration: 01h22min

    Team Vintage Sand is composed of three middle-aged cisgender White males who happen to be old friends and happen to have a passion for Film. In spite of these boundaries of perspective, however, we could not let this moment of social activism and (hopefully)progress go unnoted. Because perhaps more than any other cultural institution, Hollywood's treatment of Black people both in front of and behind the camera has shaped the nation's perception of race relations over the past century. We have no claim of expertise on this history based on lived experience. Our goal in creating this episode (the first of two parts; in Episode 24, we will examine the work of Black filmmakers over the last 100 years)was to simply and briefly trace the changing history of the Black experience in American film. Our aim is to open some doors to artists, trends and films that even film fans may not know well. In doing so, we are hoping that our listeners will have the same experience we had in creating this episode; to re-examine o

  • Vintage Sand Episode 22: Notes on Hitchcocks Villains

    Vintage Sand Episode 22: Notes on Hitchcock's Villains

    02/07/2020 Duration: 01h15min

    For Episode 22, Team Vintage Sand returns to the work of Alfred Hitchcock, for the first time since Episode 5. In that one, we promised (or threatened) to devote a whole episode just to Hitchcock's villains, characters who often end up stealing the films they're in and are often more compelling than his heroes. Reaching all the way back to "The 39 Steps" (1935) and continuing through his penultimate film, 1972's "Frenzy", our intrepid team discusses what makes a great Hitchcock villain and which actors best fit the mold and which succeed by breaking it entirely. So listen in, and we know you'll say about us, "Why, they wouldn't even harm a fly."

  • Vintage Sand Episode 21: Alternate Oscars: The 1950s Edition

    Vintage Sand Episode 21: Alternate Oscars: The 1950's Edition

    10/06/2020 Duration: 01h22min

    Third time's the charm, as we turn once again to Danny Peary's peerless 1993 book, "Alternate Oscars". This go-round, Team Vintage Sand focuses on the 1950's, a decade with some questionable Best Picture choices (to put it politely). Still can't believe that "The Greatest Show on Earth" beat the unnominated "Singin' in the Rain"? Stunned that "Around the World in 80 Days" topped "The Searchers", which was also not nominated? Then join us on our alternate history as we set things right, start laughin' at clouds, and mete out justice in our usual cruel-but-fair Vintage Sand style. Our only ground rule? No foreign-language films, because otherwise this would be a four-hour episode. And if you disagree with our choices, well, as the irrepressible Osgood Fielding famously put it, nobody's perfect. Zowie!

  • Vintage Sand Episode 20: The Next Auteurs

    Vintage Sand Episode 20: The Next Auteurs

    20/05/2020 Duration: 48min

    In the midst of the pandemic, many have turned to the art of the past, finding understandable comfort in nostalgia. Team Vintage Sand, in its usual charming and curmudgeonly way, has decided instead to look to the decade to come. In this episode, we discuss the directors that we think will become the next great voices in Film. Some obvious candidates are here, including Ryan Coogler, Damien Chazelle, Greta Gerwig, Barry Jenkins and genre folks like Ari Aster and Denis Villeneuve. But there are some surprises as well. So we hope you'll join Josh, Michael and John as, via Zoom, they buck the general trend by seeking comfort in the future.

  • Vintage Sand Episode 19: The Best of the Teens, Part II

    Vintage Sand Episode 19: The Best of the Teens, Part II

    08/03/2020 Duration: 01h47min

    Well, Vintage Sand listeners, we've reached the summit. Join us at the summit, where the air is thin and the trees are stubby, as John, Michael and Josh take you through their five favorite films of the decade recently ended. Some real surprises, some total non-surprises, and an overall sense that the early reports of the death of Film-with-a-capital-"F" were a bit premature. Seize the moments, or let the moments seize you!

  • Vintage Sand Episode 18: Top Ten of the Teens, Part I

    Vintage Sand Episode 18: Top Ten of the Teens, Part I

    13/02/2020 Duration: 01h28min

    Yes, fans, it's the episode ten years in the making as Michael, John and Josh present the first half of their countdown of their ten favorite films of the newly-ended decade. For a period in film history that has already been mercilessly dismissed as a greed-driven, witless descent into endless sequels, remakes, CGI and superheroes, the 2010's gave us some of the greatest films in our history, ones that will surely stand the test of time as "classics". Ah, but which films are those, you ask with bated breath? As always, there is both lots of agreement and disagreement, and that's where it gets interesting. Come join us for the ride, like Llewyn Davis taking that cat along on the subway...

  • Vintage Sand Episode 17: The Irishman: Its What It Is

    Vintage Sand Episode 17: The Irishman: It's What It Is

    22/12/2019 Duration: 01h15min

    When our Greatest Living Director puts out a new film that feels like a capstone to the major themes of his incomparable career, you know that Team Vintage Sand is on the case. Thus, Episode 17--The Irishman: It's What It Is. Martin Scorsese's 3 1/2 hour epic The Irishman reunites all of the director's major players (and adds in Al Pacino for good measure) to tell a sprawling organized crime story whose scope and range have not been seen in 35 years, since Leone's Once Upon a Time in America (which Josh thinks is a better film than The Irishman, over Mike and John's strenuous objections). The Irishman will probably not be Scorsese's last film, but it seems to be a final statement regarding both his ideas on the human impact of the male-centered world of organized violence (from Mean Streets through The Departed)and, in its brilliant final half hour, the spiritual searching prominent in some of his most underrated films (Last Temptation, Kundun, Silence). While we disagree slightly on The Irishman's place in t

  • Vintage Sand Episode 16: Reopening the Book on Eyes Wide Shut

    Vintage Sand Episode 16: Reopening the Book on Eyes Wide Shut

    30/10/2019 Duration: 01h12min

    Join Team Vintage Sand as we commemorate the 20th anniversary of one of the most polarizing films ever created by a major filmmaker: Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, his final work. Released to mixed reviews in 1999, the film has been undergoing a critical reappraisal in recent years. Hear the sparks fly as Michael (generally) likes the film, John's willing to consider both sides and I hate it even more than I did two decades ago. Cool, cerebral erotic thriller? Pathetic softcore non-porn by a erstwhile genius who by then was hopelessly out of touch? Your call, dear listener. And the password is Fidelio...

  • Vintage Sand Episode 15: End of Film, End of Cinema

    Vintage Sand Episode 15: End of Film, End of Cinema

    28/09/2019 Duration: 01h35min

    In a perfectly symmetrical bookend to Episode 6, this episode finds our intrepid heroes of Team Vintage Sand exploring our favorite movie endings of all time. Creating a perfect conclusion to a movie is an extremely challenging task; even our greatest filmmakers have occasionally found it to be problematic (rat crossing a balcony railing, anyone?). We go around the world, and all the way back to silent film, to tip our collective hats to those we feel have gotten it just right. Plus, you get Michael and John presenting East Village Dinner Theatre, Josh trying to sing, and the first annual There Will Be Blood Imitation Contest. Forget it, Jake--it's vintage Vintage Sand.

  • Vintage Sand Episode 14: The Episode 14 Fists of McCluskey

    Vintage Sand Episode 14: The Episode 14 Fists of McCluskey

    20/08/2019 Duration: 01h09min

    Love him, hate him or both, the arrival of a new film by Quentin Tarantino is an important event for anyone even remotely interested in film. In this episode, Team Vintage Sand takes a deep dive into Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, QT's love letter to the LA of his childhood. Can the brilliant performances by Brad Pitt and Leonardo Di Caprio overcome a meandering script and yet another controversial ending that rewrites history in a way that some have found trivializing and offensive? Where does the film fit in the Tarantino canon? The answer to these and other burning questions are contained in our latest episode, brought to you by the good people at Red Apple Cigarettes. We smoke 'em...

  • Vintage Sand Episode 13: Alternate Oscars - 2000s Edition

    Vintage Sand Episode 13: Alternate Oscars - 2000's Edition

    26/07/2019 Duration: 01h28min

    Turning once again to Danny Peary's amazing book "Alternate Oscars", Team Vintage Sand focuses on the 00's, a decade with some questionable Best Picture choices (to put it politely). Still can't believe that Crash and A Beautiful Mind won? Join us on our alternate history as we set things right and mete out justice in our usual cruel-but-fair Vintage Sand style. And while you may not be able to figure it out,you will be responsible for it on the mid-term.

  • Vintage Sand Episode 12: Trainwreck, or What Happened to Film Comedy in the Teens?

    Vintage Sand Episode 12: Trainwreck, or What Happened to Film Comedy in the Teens?

    26/06/2019 Duration: 01h18min

    Whatever happened to Hollywood film comedies? Setting aside action comedies like the Deadpool films and Thor: Ragnarok, as well as animated comedy, why have there been so few great film comedies in the 2010's? We're talking films where the humor arises organically from dialogue, setups and punchlines, and situational as well as physical humor; you know, like all those good ones from Duck Soup through The Hangover. With few exceptions, like Spy, Bridesmaids and Trainwreck (some controversy on that last one), the kind of comedy that Hollywood became famous for seems all but gone. In this episode, our intrepid heroes from Team Vintage Sand try to figure out if and why this is so.

  • Vintage Sand Episode 11: Hidden Gems, Volume 1

    Vintage Sand Episode 11: Hidden Gems, Volume 1

    22/05/2019 Duration: 01h04min

    What makes a film a classic? As with any art, the best answer is simply time. So many of the films we revere today were both critical and popular failures when they were released, and many successful films have likewise faded into obscurity. In this episode, each member of Team Vintage Sand champions a lost film that they feel merits a reappraisal. And where else would you get Bertrand Tavernier, Alan Rudolph and Dennis Hopper sharing the spotlight?

  • Vintage Sand Episode 10: Films Greatest One-Hit Wonders

    Vintage Sand Episode 10: Film's Greatest One-Hit Wonders

    20/03/2019 Duration: 01h28min

    This year marks the 50th anniversary of some of the greatest albums of the rock era: Abbey Road, Let It Bleed and Tommy are but a very small sample. Yet in that year of Woodstock, what was the most popular song of the year? That’s right, trivia fans: “Sugar Sugar” by The Archies. That got us to thinking about one-hit wonders, who have a place of pride in the history of film as well as music. Some of these films were made by directors who made many films but had only one hit, while some were made by artists who only had the chance to make one film. Some were completely ignored upon release, but their reputations have grown steadily in the years that followed; others were commercial and even critical successes upon release, but have faded somewhat over time. One-hit wonders in all endeavors are often dismissed out of hand, but let’s remember that 99.9999999% of all artists never even have the one hit. So join us this month as Team Vintage Sand gives some sugar to the “Sugar Sugars” of the film world as we celeb

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