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April 11, 2024 81 mins

This week, Jamie, Caitlin, and special guest Susan Zalkind ship up to Boston to chat about The Departed. 

Check out Susan at for more on Susan's reporting, book, social media, etc!

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Just a quick note Jamie jumping in here to say
that Susan is a fan of the Bechdel Cast, but
does not necessarily share all of Caitlin and my views
enjoy the show.

Speaker 2 (00:12):
On the Bechdel Cast, the questions asked if movies have
women in them, are all their discussions just boyfriends and husbands,
or do they have individualism? It's the patriarchy, Zeph and
vest start changing it with the Bechdel Cast.

Speaker 3 (00:27):
Don Welcome to the Bechdel Cast, Kaitlyn.

Speaker 1 (00:37):
I have to ask you something that like kind of
defies the Bechdel test immediately. But if Martin Scorsese was
given the choice, this is the trolley problem I'm going
to present. Either one of his children disappears forever because
he's got a lot, or the song Gimme Shelter was

never written. What do you think he would choose? I
feel like, and I love Martin Scorsese, I feel like
he has to love the song Gimme Shelter more than
at least one of his kids. Wow, I feel like
there's one he would part with.

Speaker 3 (01:14):
He would depart with, he would depart with.

Speaker 1 (01:16):
He would I think he would depart his least favorite
child this man loves. I mean, and I know maybe
it's just because we also just watch Goodfellas, but it's
in this movie for like forty whole minutes. It just
starts to loop during one scene. You're just like, oh
my god, it's his favorite.

Speaker 3 (01:33):
As does that Dropkick Murphy's song I feel like plays
multiple times.

Speaker 1 (01:37):
Yeah, we'll ask our guests in a second. I think
that there is actually kind of like a state law
about that song, Like you can't even kind of get
a permit to film if you don't use it, like.

Speaker 3 (01:47):
To film in Boston or Massachusetts. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (01:49):
Yeah, no, they won't let you unless you've already like
broke her to deal with with the Dropkick Murphy's. Yeah,
I'm pretty sure that's true in any case. Welcome to
the Bestel Cast. My name is Jamie Loftus, my name
is Caitlin Dante. This is our podcast where we examine
movies through an intersectional feminist lens, using the Bechtel test
as a jumping off point. And as I've said recently,

I'm I'm just over explaining what the Bechtel test is,
since it truly has not very much to do with
our show. So and certainly nothing to do with this movivie.
I yes. If you don't know what the Bechtel test is,
it is a media metric created by queer cartoonist Alison Bechdel.
Lots of versions of the test. The version of the

test we use is that it requires two characters of
a marginalized gender with names talking to each other about
something other than a man. I include it in this
episode only because I'm pretty certain it does not happen
in this movie, not even close, like not even remote, Like,
oh god, this is It's so weird because Scorsese is
so all over the place with women characters. Like when

he nails it, he nails it. And sometimes he's just
like like there's this element of like there's one woman
in the movie, and she kind of just exists in
the context of two rooms, like Vera Farmiga is like
in an apartment or her office. Only I'm worried about her.

It feels like she's like got like a little ankle
bracelet that will start beeping if she wanders too a
far afield from the plot. In any case, that's what
our show is, and we can tell you right now
it doesn't pass the Bectel test. So we're going to
talk about literally everything else that departed two thousand and
six Martin Scorsese Boston, and we have an incredible guest.

Speaker 3 (03:44):
We sure do. She is a journalist, author, producer, and
New Englander. Her reporting is mostly on New England crime, okay,
relevant to one of the.

Speaker 1 (03:55):
Movies you see what we're doing here what.

Speaker 3 (03:58):
She wrote and produced the twenty two Hulu docuseries The
Murders Before the Marathon, which was named one of the
best shows of the year by The Wall Street Journal,
and her book The Walthame Murders is out now. It's
Susan's all kind welcome.

Speaker 4 (04:13):
Thank you for having me.

Speaker 3 (04:14):
Oh my gosh, thanks for being here.

Speaker 1 (04:16):
Before we get into talking about the depoted, we want
to hear about the book. Let our listeners know, because
I know you've been conducting this investigation for over a decade.

Speaker 5 (04:25):
Now, yeah, and I'm only just now getting the new
reporting in the book out there in the world. I
think most people have heard of the Boston marathon bombing,
the Whitey Bulger cases we'll talk about soon. It was
one of those huge Boston crime stories. I think the
Boston marathon bombing might even surpass that it was a
horrific attack, and there's still a lot of unanswered questions. Okay,

so Tamalin Sernaya was one of the bombers. Eighteen months
before the bombing, there was this horrific triple homicide in Waltham, Massachusetts.
Three men were found with their throat slit. There was
marijuana dumped on two of the bodies. It was this
extremely unusual, horrific murder. And at the time, I was

actually just out of college. I was working as a
freelance overnight production assistant at a local news station. Whitey
Bulger had just been busted and it was this big,
exciting story, and I was looking for a way to
work my way up to the assignment desk or maybe
become a reporter.

Speaker 4 (05:32):
And I'm from the area.

Speaker 5 (05:33):
I've been following homicide cases my whole life, and I thought, Okay,
this is an intriguing case, right, And then I found
out one of the victims was my friend marijuana dealer,
who was just like sweet, kind human being. He was
a great friend, not just to myself but to a
lot of members in my community. And I stopped reporting

on crime after that. Literally it was emotional to say
the least right. So that was my eager to be
a crime reporter, Whitey Bulger news, Go, Go, Go.

Speaker 4 (06:07):
Crash and boom.

Speaker 5 (06:08):
And then I found out my friend was killed, and
I stepped back from all of that. After the bombing,
there were new theories that maybe Tamalin Sirnaiev could have
been involved in the nine eleven eleven brutal homicide of
his friend. I was friends with one of the victims,
Tamalin Surnaie was actually friends and sparring partners with another

one of the victims, frend and Mess, and I was
of course very curious about that as well, and I
started looking into it, and I had inklings that maybe
this case wasn't being pursued aggressively by police at the time,
but this was a well funded police unit. It was
a really unusual murder, so I surprised about that. And

then one month later, a man in Florida was shot
dead by an FBI agent in an interview with two
Massachusett State troopers. He was shot seven times in his
own home, and the story that was leaked to the
press was that this man, who was also a MMA fighter,
confessed and that he implicated Tamerlin Cernayev and.

Speaker 4 (07:12):
Himself in my friend's murder.

Speaker 3 (07:14):

Speaker 5 (07:14):
But there was no on the record reporting on any
of this. So even though I had a personal connection
to this case, it was very emotional for me. I
knew that I needed answers, and I made a commitment
to push this case forward and to stick with it
until the end. And no more than a decade later
there I am holy shit.

Speaker 1 (07:35):
I mean, it's a wonderful book. I'm in the midst
of it right now, so we would definitely check it out.
And it makes you truly maybe the best possible guest
to have on the show to talk about the Departed. Yeah,
all three of us have lived in the Boston area
at one point or another, so let's start by talking

about our personal history with the movie and also just like,
say what area in Boston you've lived in?

Speaker 4 (08:04):
Come on, yeah, Susan, Okay, I'm from Newton. Try not
to tell people.

Speaker 5 (08:10):
Let's it destroys my street credibility.

Speaker 4 (08:14):
Yeah, it's sober.

Speaker 1 (08:15):
Yeah, you're cooked.

Speaker 5 (08:19):
My family did the like Judish migration pattern on my
dad's side, so we went like Chelsea, Dorchester, Brookline, Newton and.

Speaker 4 (08:29):
There we go.

Speaker 5 (08:32):
But I actually uncover like a criminal underworld in my
hometown of Newton, Waltham and Watertown in the book, which
was really interesting to me because we don't usually think
about rime in that area because it's technically safe.

Speaker 1 (08:47):
It's the end of the green line.

Speaker 5 (08:49):
Yeah, I uncover a history of criminal underworld in my
idyllic suburban hometown in the book, which may be one
reason why investigators weren't keen on getting answers case in
the first place. And also I lived in Cambridge for
years I got out of namely sure.

Speaker 3 (09:06):
And then what's your history with the movie The Departed?

Speaker 4 (09:10):
My history Departed?

Speaker 5 (09:11):
This is one of the movies that you have to
watch if you're reporting on a crime, if you're trying
to get a sense for the crime. I mean, The
Departed is the movie that men on Tinder dates quote
back to me most frequently when I tell them a reporter.
So there's that, there's that part of the history of
The Departed. Looking back on it, I can definitely see that.

I think I took it in at a young age,
not very skeptically, you know. Now we're watching it a
little bit closer. But it's one of those movies that
kind of just seeps into your soul if you're in
the Boston.

Speaker 4 (09:44):
Area, for better or worse.

Speaker 5 (09:45):
It's kind of part of local Boston lore at this
point as well.

Speaker 1 (09:50):
It's deep part of Boston.

Speaker 3 (09:53):
It's deep part of it.

Speaker 1 (09:54):
It's a deep part of it. Thank you so much.

Speaker 3 (09:57):
WHOA so many puns going from Little Jamie today.

Speaker 1 (10:01):
I know it's because I'm sick. Honestly, I feel like
I like something something's wrong. Like you know, like when
you're sick, you can tell you're getting sick because your
teeth kind of hurt. That's me today. My teeth always
kind of hurt.

Speaker 3 (10:14):

Speaker 1 (10:15):
My history with That Departed is that I didn't see
it when it came out. I was thirteen when it
came out, and my mom was like, no, because I'm
from Brockton, which is famously shouted out. Yes, it is
by a murderer by the name of Alec Baldwin in
this movie. This movie is obviously about Boston, but in

a way, everyone in Brockton knows that Alec Baldwin says
Brockton fifth. He lives in Brockton with his mother. She's
straight out of going my Way. It's iconic in Brockton.
That we were acknowledged exactly one time in cinema.

Speaker 3 (10:52):
Wow, well, don't forget about the menu. When Anya Taylor
Joy's character is allegedly from Brockton.

Speaker 1 (10:58):
Oh my god, I think I got like more texts
about a movie that I've ever gotten than when the
Menu came out. They're like the twist. I went to
high school with her, but yeah, no, I didn't see
this movie when it came out. My mom also was
always very like, people get Massachusetts all wrong in movies,
and virtually all of her issues with how Massachusetts is

portrayed in movies exist within The Departed, which is fair enough.
I do think that like there is this tendency to
want to only portray Harvard and like four blocks of
southeet in every single movie about Massachusetts. There's very little
interest in anything outside of it. I've been, you know,

talking about this forever, Like there are stereotypes about the area,
which are true. Boston is absolutely a very racist city.
But it's just really frustrating because there are many areas
of Massachusetts that are tremendously diverse and progressive, and one
of them is Brockton. And no never talks about Brockton
except for Annie Taylor Joy and Alec Baldwin.

Speaker 4 (12:04):
I love it when you talk about Brocton.

Speaker 1 (12:06):
It's all I want to do is talk about Brockton. Anyways,
I've seen The Departed. The first time I saw it,
I was like, this movie's good, And every time I
see it now I'm like, this movie is fine. This
movie is fine if.

Speaker 5 (12:17):
You're just watching for the Boston accents, like this movie
is a mussy.

Speaker 4 (12:21):
If you're just looking for like a tour de force
of like.

Speaker 5 (12:24):
Boston actors and actors who aren't from Boston who want
to prove that they have like a Boston accent they
can put it on, or like are just having like
a lot of fun trying, then this is this is
the movie to watch, like.

Speaker 1 (12:37):
Absolutely micro processes. Caitlin, what's your history with The Departed
and Boston.

Speaker 3 (12:45):
Well, I lived in Somerville for four years when I
was attending Boston University, where I did get a master's
degree in screenwriting, which I of course never bring up.
But as I was going to school, I lived in Somerville.
I have seen The Departed a few times, once when

it came out, and then I rewatched it when I
was in said master's program because I wrote a script
when I was in grad school about the Boston Irish Mob.

Speaker 4 (13:20):
What all, right, here we go.

Speaker 1 (13:22):
I didn't know this.

Speaker 3 (13:23):
Here's the thing. I did absolutely zero research on what
the Boston Irish Mob was.

Speaker 1 (13:30):
Like, you just watched The Departed.

Speaker 3 (13:31):
I literally just watched The Departed because it was an
action comedy. So I was like, it's a comedy, it
doesn't need to be that heavily researched anyway. So I
wrote that script and then I did absolutely nothing with it.
It is just sitting on a hard drive somewhere.

Speaker 1 (13:48):
That's our most scripts.

Speaker 3 (13:49):
But I watched The Departed I think a couple times
in order to like inform my writing of that script.

Speaker 5 (13:55):
Do not watch The Departed if you're trying to learn
about the Boston Irish mom. But that said, like, maybe
we should partner up and like revive the script, like
with our paths.

Speaker 4 (14:04):
I'm fine, maybe it could be could be ahead.

Speaker 1 (14:07):
Yeah, God, it's dangerous to talk about Boston and in
the show. I have two more quick things so that
I know we have to get started. I wanted to
quickly flex that I constantly confuse The Departed in the
town to me they are the same movie. Every time
I'm watching The Departed, I'm like, isn't John Hammon this movie? No,
he's not even famous. When this movie came out to me,

they're the same movie. They had the same vibe. However,
I went to the premiere of the Town for some reason.
It was at Fenway Park, and they made all of
the students sit in the bleachers at Fenway Park and
want to the town. But it was like on a
small screen in the middle of the baseball field. Don't
understand what the vision was because it was really hard
to see the movie. But you were at a Way

But I was at Fenway, I know. But it's also like, yeah,
I'm from here, I don't care. Who cares? I don't care.
Wait park, it's historical, it's amazing, Green Monster. I worked
at a bagels shop across from Fenway Park, and I
really grew to hate Red Sox fans with just a
burning passion. They were so rude about their bagels. Finally,

Whitey Bulger connection my aunt's father, who's not related to
me because she's not actually my aunt, but my aunt's
father was arrested twice because he looked a lot like
Whitey Bulger, whoa, And so his neighbors called the cops
on him. The bar tender at the bar he went

to called the cops on him. Like he became sort
of like a locally famous figure for always getting arrested
for looking like Whitey Bulger. Anyways, may he rest in peace.

Speaker 5 (15:44):
I love that, And I also feel like one fourth
of like the population of men of a certain age.

Speaker 4 (15:50):
I know he looked like Whitey Bulger.

Speaker 1 (15:53):
I'm just like, oh, he looks like an old white guy.
But I guess like the facial hair like it was
all and he lived in the area as well, so
they were like Whitey Bulger walks above us. But it
was just mister Smith.

Speaker 5 (16:04):
And I guess that's like the thing about Whitey Bulger.
It's not just Whitey Bulger. It's like the myth of
Whitey Bulger that is so part yea of like the
Boston lore for decades and decades, and how that's myth
has changed, and how he's like shaped the myth about
himself as well.

Speaker 1 (16:22):
I'm excited to talk about the Frank Costello overlap, but
let's take a quick break and then we'll come back
and talk about the movie let's do it.

Speaker 3 (16:30):
We'll be right back. And we are back, and it's
time for the recap. And I'm gonna give a little
disclaimer on this recap, which is that I was mostly

following the movie, but a lot of things happen in
the movie that I don't understand why or how they happen,
So I don't know how to just gribe a lot
of what happens. So this recap might be a big
mess and it might not make any sense. I don't know.
Let's find out.

Speaker 1 (17:08):
This is a group project. We've got this.

Speaker 5 (17:11):
I'd say that this is like one of the challenges
of the Departed. Like I've known two like close family
members who can't tell, like Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio
apart in this movie until like an hour in, So
that can kind of be like a twist for some people.

Speaker 3 (17:26):
I don't have that problem. I am very very good
at distinguishing those two boys. Okay, it's just the rest
of the plot that I don't really know. If I understand.

Speaker 1 (17:36):
I think it's a haircut issue. For me. It's just
like they just needed more. If you're going to cast
two white guys, do you just give everyone a different
haircut at least m Anyways, The Departed The Departed.

Speaker 3 (17:49):
So where in Boston, specifically South Boston aka Southy we
meet Frank Costello played by Jack Nicholson. He is an
Irish mob boss and he has this kid start working
for him named Colin Sullivan. And the kid looks like
he's going to grow up to be Matt Damon, and

sure enough, cut to him as Matt Damon, and he
is finishing his training to become a cop for the
Massachusetts State Police Department. He's also being very homophobic when
we first meet him.

Speaker 1 (18:24):
Well, don't forget, he's also big racist when we first
beat him.

Speaker 3 (18:27):
He's being written Frank Costello's being very racist. Every character
in this movie is very racist and or homophobic and
or sexist.

Speaker 1 (18:35):
Yeah. Every possible stereotype around characters you see in movies
from Boston are present in the first two minutes of
this movie.

Speaker 5 (18:43):
Yeah, but like explicitly about like them saying like horrifically
offensive things.

Speaker 3 (18:48):
Yeah, dropping slurs.

Speaker 5 (18:49):
About like other races and genders. There's like nothing likable
about Frank Costello at any point in this film, certainly not.

Speaker 4 (18:58):
Except for his suits.

Speaker 3 (19:00):
Times, except for when he wears a shirt that just
says Irish on it and that we support.

Speaker 1 (19:06):
And it's just like, Frank, the Irish did not claim you.
We don't claim you.

Speaker 3 (19:11):
Okay. So then we meet another cop, Billy Costigan, played
by Leonardo DiCaprio. He is a kind of lowly state
police officer. In fact, I don't think he ever finishes
his training. He also got like a fourteen hundred on
his SAT and he can quote Hawthorne and stuff, so
we're like, okay, he's smart. Question mark. Anyway, his mother

has just passed away, and that's something that I guess
is important for us to learn.

Speaker 1 (19:41):
Yeah, I mean, I don't know if that's based in truth,
but like it's also just like okay, we also in
the first ten minutes have a woman dies for the
plot to be in even though it's like not it
wasn't necessary.

Speaker 3 (19:52):

Speaker 5 (19:52):
The key thing about Leonardo is that he has two accents.

Speaker 4 (19:56):
He has his Southy like Boston accent, and then.

Speaker 5 (19:59):
He also from like the north Shore, like an upper
class family like Gloucester, maybe marvel Head, and so he
has he's a double guy.

Speaker 1 (20:10):
Yeah, Yeah, he's a he's a class shifter. He's a
sheep shifter.

Speaker 3 (20:14):
He's code switching. He is among Boston Boston class I
mean kind of yeah.

Speaker 5 (20:21):
Yeah, so he can turn the Boston accent on and
off and it's like, oh, Leo, you actually do a
pretty decent Boston accent.

Speaker 4 (20:28):
So that's a huge takeaway he.

Speaker 1 (20:29):
Does, which is also important in a worse Martin Scrazi movie,
Shutter Island.

Speaker 3 (20:35):
Oh that's right. I need to rewatch that one.

Speaker 1 (20:38):
Once you know the twist. It's not as fun but
still good.

Speaker 3 (20:41):
Yeah, all right. Then we meet some more cops. They
are Martin Sheen and Mark Wahlberg, and I do just
keep their actors' names throughout this recap, so sorry about that,
but anyway, that's fine. They run the like undercover division
of the Organized Crime Unit of the State Police Department,

and Billy has a meeting with them, and they think
that Billy is a good candidate to go undercover and
infiltrate Frank Costello's crime family, basically become one of Frank's minions.

Speaker 1 (21:16):
Minions. Yes, I also wrote down Maybian overlap minion representation.

Speaker 3 (21:23):
So Frank Costello is grew and Billy is about to
become like Kevin le Mignon. He wishes, he wishes he's
maybe more of a steward or a bob. Yeah, that's true.

Speaker 1 (21:36):
It's true. So much of this movie is just like
the different leaders being like which guy is your guy?
And everyone's just trying to figure out whose guy is
whose guy?

Speaker 4 (21:48):
So much that's the plot.

Speaker 1 (21:50):
Yeah, yeah, yeah, where's the guy that?

Speaker 3 (21:53):
Which guy is the guy? Of the guy?

Speaker 1 (21:55):
I guess that's a lot of crime thrillers. Where's the guy?
It's usually he's right here, he's standing right next to you.

Speaker 3 (22:03):
He's the guy you don't suspect because he's right in
front of your face. Anyway. Okay, So Martin Sheen and
Mark Wahlberg want Billy to go undercover and become a minion,
and to be able to convincingly do that, Billy will
have to be like, quote unquote fired from being a
cop and do jail time for like an assaultant battery

charge so that Costello won't suspect that Billy is still
a cop. Meanwhile, Colin gets promoted to detective and he
starts working under Alec Baldwin, who leads the organized crime division,
but not the undercover part, so he doesn't know who's
undercover and who's not, and that crime Division is targeting

Frank Costello. They're trying to take him down. But wait
a minute, Colin still works for Costello. I guess the
idea is that Colin became a cop because Costello wanted
someone on the inside to be his little spot.

Speaker 1 (23:01):
Yes, and because, like we've been saying for years, every
movie is ultimately about fathers and sons. Yes, there is
an element of both the Matt Damon and the DiCaprio
characters that is like, is Jack Nicholson my dad?

Speaker 5 (23:16):

Speaker 1 (23:16):
And I mean, at least I feel like this movie
has something to say about that, which is, no, he's not.
He's not your daddy, He's no one's daddy.

Speaker 3 (23:26):
Then the police find out about a robbery where these
like military grade, super expensive micro processes were stolen.

Speaker 1 (23:37):
Oh my god, just when you think they're not gonna
say it again, they say it again. I feel like
every character says it, but it really just draws your attention.
For me. I should have ranked who says micro processes
the best most of it is just like, well, Mark
Wahlberg says it the most and the best mm hmm.
But Matt Damon gets one or two in there sure,

and Sheen says it. If someone says it, everyone has
to say it. I love it.

Speaker 3 (24:03):
It's beautiful.

Speaker 1 (24:04):
It reminds me of how like the First Fast and
the Furious is about like stealing DVD players. You're like,
why this bizarre piece of dated technology?

Speaker 3 (24:13):
Anyway, So they know about this robbery and they know
that Frank Costello and his minions are behind it. Meanwhile,
Billy does his jail time and then he is released,
and then he gets to work on finding an inn
with Costello by way of his like low level criminal
cousin who is kind of vaguely connected to Costello. And

then Billy finally meets Costello, who wants to know if
Billy's still a cop. He's like beating his like broken
hand about it to get him to confess, but Billy
doesn't relent, and so Costello trusts him and lets him
become a minion. Meanwhile, Billy keeps reporting to Martin Sheen
and Mark Wahlberg. They're still trying to nail Costello for

this micropross us or robbery. Then one of Costello's minions,
but like a very important minion. In fact, this might
be Kevin le Mignon.

Speaker 1 (25:08):
This is Kevin, Yeah, this is.

Speaker 3 (25:10):
Actually no, Kevin is probably mister French. This is another
guy he gets arrested, so Colin is like, Colin knows
the cops are about to raid one of like Frank's
crime spots.

Speaker 5 (25:23):
Oh yeah, this is a good scene where Matt Damon
lies to everyone.

Speaker 3 (25:27):
I do not understand what's happening, but basically he does
this sneaky thing where he like warns Costello about the raid,
but it makes it look like he's doing his cop job.

Speaker 4 (25:39):
Well, but like he's playing both sides.

Speaker 5 (25:42):
Yeah, he shows he's playing both sides, so he pretends
to be the guy's lawyer, so he makes it it's complicated.

Speaker 1 (25:49):

Speaker 4 (25:49):

Speaker 1 (25:49):

Speaker 3 (25:50):
While all of this stuff is happening, Colin has met
and has started dating Madeline played by Vera Farmiga. She
is a psychiatrist who I don't know if she specifically
works with the police department, but she has a lot
of clients who are cops.

Speaker 1 (26:07):
Yeah fair for Meca's character is so interesting also because
it's like I guess that she the source material that
this is or one of the pieces of source material
is a Hong Kong action movie where her character is two.

Speaker 3 (26:19):
Women, mm, which makes more sense.

Speaker 1 (26:22):
Yeah, I think it's done away with in favor of
making this very boring love triangle that I don't care about.
And also, why have two women when you could have
one fewer? Question mark?

Speaker 5 (26:34):

Speaker 1 (26:34):
But it's just I was like, I mean, I guess
that more cops should be a therapy, but that I
don't know.

Speaker 3 (26:40):
Yeah, we can talk about it. Yeah, but anyway, So
Colin has started dating her, but you know who else
has started seeing Madeline at first in a psychiatrist's client capacity.
It's Billy Costigan.

Speaker 1 (26:54):

Speaker 3 (26:54):

Speaker 1 (26:55):
She also couldn't tell the difference between DiCaprio and Damon,
so she's just like, are you my boyfriend? I have
face blind its yeah, okay.

Speaker 3 (27:05):
So Billy does not know that Colin is in cahoots
with Costello, and Colin does not know that Billy is undercover.
He just knows that Billy is one of Costello's new
guys new Minions.

Speaker 1 (27:21):
Yes, he's like Auto basically right from my Minion heads.

Speaker 3 (27:26):
Yeah, I don't even know that one, so I'm a
fake fan.

Speaker 1 (27:28):
He's new, he's new, don't worry about it anyway.

Speaker 3 (27:34):
So, at this point, Billy has been undercover for a year.
He's getting very anxious, but Martin Sheen and Mark Wahlberg
need more time to build their case against Costello. They
also suspect that Costello has a spy in the police force,
but they don't know that it's Colin Sullivan. Then Alec
Baldwin sets up this like bust to try to get

Costello as he's selling the microprocessors and Colin is secretly
texting Costello information, Billy is secretly texting Martin Sheen information,
and ultimately the cops are not able to bust Costello
during this transaction and from this and I don't understand
how because I don't know how crime works, and I

don't know how cops work. But Billy is able to
confirm that there is a rat in the police department,
so he and Martin Sheen and Mark Wahlberg get to
work on figuring out who it is. Meanwhile, Madeline has
transferred Billy to another psychiatrist, so he asks her out
for coffee and they go to coffee and she's talking

about her boyfriend.

Speaker 5 (28:40):
After like crushing her into like giving him pills. So
that's like that's how the romance starts.

Speaker 1 (28:46):
Yeah, and then she does it to prove she's not
like other psychiatrists. I'm like, this is not this is
not how you do your job. The only woman we
know and she's bad at her job. Great.

Speaker 5 (28:58):
Yeah, Oh then Costello like a girlfriend surprisingly like at
the end too, she.

Speaker 3 (29:03):
Has I couldn't tell if those were multiple girlfriends or
if it was just one woman.

Speaker 4 (29:09):
Yeah, it doesn't matter, doesn't matter.

Speaker 3 (29:12):
He's very sexist to all of them, whoever they are.

Speaker 1 (29:15):
Yeah, he's an equal opportunity misogynist. He will be horrible
to anyone. True anyway. So they're out for coffee, Madeline
and Billy, and she's talking about her boyfriend, who Billy
does not know is Colin, So there's another level of like,
who is this guy?

Speaker 4 (29:34):
And he doesn't know who Colin is either, right.

Speaker 3 (29:38):
Not yet at least. Then Costello calls Colin to be like,
I'm getting the feeling like one of my minions is
an undercover cop below, and Colin agrees, and he wants
Costello to give him the real names and social security
numbers of all the guys in his crew so that

Colin can like run them through the cop database or something.
And then Billy learns from some guy who we haven't
seen before and we won't see again. That Costello is
actually a protected FBI informant and that's why he never
gets busted. And Billy is like, wait what, And Billy

relays this information to Martin Sheen and throws this whole
wrench in the situation. Then Billy shows up at Madeleine's
house and suddenly they're making out and they have sex,
even though she's still with Colin and now living with him.

Speaker 4 (30:40):
But she has doubts, she has doubts.

Speaker 1 (30:42):
She has such doubts fair enough, because he's like, I
don't want a picture of you as a child at
my apartment.

Speaker 3 (30:49):
In our living room.

Speaker 5 (30:50):
Yeah. I was like, what, Okay, he's not a great boyfriend, so,
like you can kind of I understand why she might
want somebody else but.

Speaker 4 (30:58):
Her client who hassles her or pills.

Speaker 3 (31:01):
You know, there's question not a better option.

Speaker 1 (31:03):
Yeah. I don't care that she cheats on him. I
just care how she cheats on him.

Speaker 3 (31:08):
And with whom. Yeah, and it's someone who's basically just
as bad. Yeah, ain't that just the way true? Anyway?
So Alec Baldwin signs calling the duty of investigating the
like organized Crime Division to find out who the rat is.
He he's the rat, and so he's like, Okay, sure

I'll find him. JK. Then there's this little meeting at
a porn theater between Costello and Colin. Billy is there
lurking in the background in secret. He's trying to figure
out who the rat is.

Speaker 1 (31:44):
It feels like a priest and a rabbi joke, like
that whole seed is like a Jack Nicholson, a Leonardo DiCaprio,
and a Matt Damon all enter a porn theater like
it's just and they don't even bother to put like
a fourth person in there. It's just them. I love it.

Speaker 4 (32:02):
Yeah, kind of like a metaphor for the whole movie. Really.

Speaker 1 (32:06):
I think I was like at that point in this
viewing room, I'm like, yeah, this movie's pretty silly.

Speaker 3 (32:12):
It's kind of sillier than people give it credit for it. Yeah. Anyway,
So Colin has this envelope with all of the names
and social security numbers of Costello's crews because he's trying
to figure out who the mole is. Billy follows Colin.
He's trying to id him, but he loses Colin before
he can identify him. So Billy still doesn't know that

the rat is Colin, and Colin, who knows someone was
following him, still doesn't know that the mole is Billy.

Speaker 4 (32:45):

Speaker 5 (32:46):
So like Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio have this like
really charged relationship, Yeah, but.

Speaker 4 (32:52):
They don't know who the other person is.

Speaker 3 (32:56):
Right at the same time, and so the tension is
mounting about it. And then Colin is trying to still
figure out for Costello who the undercover cop is, and
for reasons that I totally definitely understand, he doesn't suspect Billy,

but he does suspect Martin Sheen. So now he has
everyone tailing Martin Sheen and Costello's minions throw him off
of a building and he dies, and then there's this
big shootout between the mob boys and the cops, the.

Speaker 1 (33:31):
Shot where Martin she basically explodes again like it's gross.
I'm sure physics to some extent bears that out, but
again you're just like, it's silly, it's silly.

Speaker 3 (33:45):
It's silly.

Speaker 4 (33:46):
Yeah, it's like slapstick gruesome.

Speaker 5 (33:48):
So that's like the next yeah, the next turn, it's
like it's kind of.

Speaker 4 (33:52):
Like a slapstick horror.

Speaker 5 (33:54):
Yeah film in some ways, and in that way, it's like,
you know, it's kind of is what it is.

Speaker 1 (34:00):
It's interesting because I, yeah, I feel like some of
the violence in this movie is so over the top
and visceral. And then sometimes it's like and here's Martin
Sheen and he's gonna explode. Basically you're like, oh, okay.

Speaker 4 (34:12):
I guess not a lot of nuance.

Speaker 3 (34:15):
Not much. No, So then Colin gets access to Martin
Sheen's like burner phone and stuff. He also learns that
Costello is an FBI informant, and with the burner phone,
he calls Billy and they're both like, who is this
because they still don't know. And then that night the

cops go after Costello. There's another bigger shootout, and this
time Costello gets shot and killed by Colin because he's like,
you're an informant, boo, you're not my dad exactly, yeah, truly.
Then the cops are like, wow, good job, buddy, you

got his ass. And so after that, Colin and Billy
have a little chat and in the same moment they
each discover that the other one is the rat. Billy
by seeing the envelope Colin just by virtue of like
seeing him and knowing that he's the one guy who

would have been the undercover cop.

Speaker 1 (35:22):
I think he responded to his call right like yeah,
but it's not until he.

Speaker 5 (35:26):
His handler's gone, and so now, like Martin Sheen would
have been his only like contact.

Speaker 3 (35:32):
The office, right, So when he shows up at the
police department, he's like, oh, that's the guy.

Speaker 4 (35:38):
And for some reason, he doesn't think to go to
Mark Wahlberg.

Speaker 3 (35:42):
Because Mark Wahlberg was so agro that he quit Slash
got fired, so he's not there right now.

Speaker 4 (35:51):
So I miss that. Okay, Mark Wolberg is fired.

Speaker 3 (35:54):
Yeah, well yeah, Alec Baldwin's like take a two week
leave of absence, and then Mark Wahlberg's like, fuck you,
I quit. That's why he's not around for.

Speaker 4 (36:04):
Now, got it, But wait, but wait.

Speaker 3 (36:07):
A minute, he'll come back anyway. So Colin, because he
now realizes that Billy Costigan is the undercover guy, he
deletes all records that Billy was ever a cop to
I guess protect Colin's is whatever something. And then Billy
runs away and he goes to Madeleine to give her

a different envelope, and he tells her to open it
if anything happens to him. Meanwhile, Madeleine says to Colin, Hey,
I'm Gregnant, and he's.

Speaker 1 (36:41):
Like, what, Yeah, Checkov's Greg.

Speaker 3 (36:44):
Check offs Greg Chekhov's envelope. There's all kinds of stuff
going on here. Then Billy blackmails Colin with audio recordings
that Costello had recorded because he was like recording everything. Basically,
Costella was like, I want to have a podcast. I
want to be recording my voice all the time. So

Madeline listens to the recording and so now she knows
that her boyfriend Colin is a slimy little rat.

Speaker 1 (37:12):
Whoops. She also listens to it, just like a very
two thousand and six detail of this movie is she
listens to the CD on a gigantic entertainment center with headphones.
Really beautiful.

Speaker 3 (37:25):
It was beautiful. So then Billy arrests Colin, but before
he can bring him in, another cop shoots and kills Billy.
And this other cop is another one of Costello's minions
who he had on the inside. But then Colin shoots

him so as to erase any evidence that Colin was
another one of Costello's like inside rat guys, I think
question Mark, and he thinks he's safe. Colin does until
he goes home and Mark Wahlberg is in his apartment
and he shoots and kills Colin because I guess that

Madeleine had opened the envelope and went to Mark Wahlberg.
But we don't see that on screen. And I'm just
speculating the end.

Speaker 5 (38:15):
Somehow, Mark Wahlberg has figured.

Speaker 1 (38:16):
It all out.

Speaker 3 (38:17):
He's figured it out.

Speaker 1 (38:18):
Talk about a movie contrivance, having Mark Wahlberg display signs
of human intelligence, right.

Speaker 5 (38:26):
Put it out a Boston crime book here, Jamie.

Speaker 1 (38:29):
Yeah, I mean, Mark Wahlberg is just I feel like,
also our Boston mascots that the media has selected are
generally not great people. Why can't Jenny Slat be the
state representative, right, someone who hasn't committed of race crime,
hate crimes.

Speaker 5 (38:48):
And stuff, which makes the language in this film all
the more uncomfortable.

Speaker 3 (38:52):
Yeah, totally, And.

Speaker 1 (38:54):
We don't have to get into this too much, but
like the same way that like, Mark Wahlberg is just
letting home homophobic slurs rip and also he has done
that in interviews and you know all this stuff. Yeah,
I want to say really quickly because we just covered
Goodfellas on Newcomers. If you listen to Newcomers, We're going
to be doing that in an upcoming episode of Theirs.

So we just watched. We've been watching a lot of
Martin Scorsese crime movies, that's true. I like that Martin
Scarsese loves to have a famous guy walk into a
room and die right away. I feel like there's parallels
between the Joe Pesci oh no, oh no in Goodfellas,
but then with Matt Damon, he walks into his own
apartment and says, okay, okay, Yeah, I prefer Joe Pesci.

Speaker 3 (39:39):
But it's funnier. At the very least.

Speaker 5 (39:42):
Goodfellas is interesting because like want to be mom guys
like read it and study Good Fellows like it's like
their Bible. Right, They're like re enacting scenes from Goodfellas
or like posting like they're Goodfellas. They're like quoting Goodfellas.
So that's an important film in another way.

Speaker 3 (40:00):
Yeah, not, unlike the way I watched The Departed to
learn things for my own screenplay. We got to take
another quick break and then we will come right back,
and we're back, and we're back.

Speaker 1 (40:20):
Before we get started, I want to talk a little
bit about the context of where this movie is coming from.
It's a little more complicated than I realized. I knew
that it was pulling from and I know Susan that
you know way more about this than either of us do.
I knew that it was pulling from The Winter Hill
Gang and from Whitey Bulger Lore. I didn't realize that

this was an adaptation of a Hong Kong action movie
called Internal Affairs. There's not too much to say about
that other than the filmmakers of Internal Affairs were like,
we liked The Departed, it was too long. It was
the length of three movies, and you're just like dam
and also mentioned that the Vera Formiga character, like we

talked about before, is two characters both women in Internal Affairs,
and that they were like, we don't really know why
they made that change, but just for context. I just
didn't realize this was an adaptation of a different movie.
I thought it was just events.

Speaker 3 (41:21):
I didn't realize that either.

Speaker 5 (41:23):
Yeah, well it makes it makes sense given that context
and the writer. I actually it's William Monahan. He's like
an All weekly writer. He's a dort Chester guy, and
he's kind of a man of my own heart. He's
like hyper into like Boston regionality, and I think he
took that and then tried to fit that into this

internal affair script pulling some of.

Speaker 4 (41:47):
The Whitey Bulger saga.

Speaker 1 (41:51):
But also it's like it's very, very different than what
actually happened in Boston crime history. Yeah, I guess, Susan,
is there anything that stands out to you as like
worthy of mention in terms of parallels between this movie
and actual Boston crime history or is it mostly movie
movie history gobbledyep cook kind of stuff.

Speaker 5 (42:12):
Well, I guess my biggest take, So Whitey Bulger is
this like South Boston mobster that usually when you think
about the caricature of Boston crime movies, they're usually set in.

Speaker 4 (42:24):
Southie, up the town even Goodwill hunting.

Speaker 5 (42:28):
And he was this criminal who was busted for robbery
at a younger age, sent to Alcatraz. The CIA actually
like doped him with like tons of acid, which is
another part.

Speaker 4 (42:42):
Of the story that usually gets like left out.

Speaker 5 (42:45):
I did not know he was literally part of like
the MK Ultra experiment. So he comes back from prison
and he's now like all like doped up, and his
brother Billy meanwhile, has become this very powerful Boston politician.
He was like the president of the Massachusetts State Senate
for nineteen years. And there's a relationship between Whitey Bulger

and members of law enforcement, specifically the FBI.

Speaker 4 (43:15):
So you have John Conley, who I.

Speaker 5 (43:17):
Think is the basis for the Colin Sullivan character Matt Damon,
who knew Whitey Bulger when he was a kid, like
Whitey bought him like an ice cream cone and like
scared away his like bullies. But I don't think he
has the same like longstanding connection to Whitey growing up.

Speaker 4 (43:34):
He does have a connection to Whitey's brother Billy though.

Speaker 1 (43:38):
Oh interesting.

Speaker 5 (43:39):
So here's a part of the like Whitey Bulger story
that gets me really annoyed that we're not looking at
it more. But Whitey Bulger's FBI handler, John Conley, got
busted for basically being paid off by Whitey, like tipping
him off the things, even being involved in murders. And
he was busted, but his supervisor, the guy above him,

got immunity, right, So there was never an investigation into
like the people overseeing Conley or how deep the problem
went into the FBI. It just stopped at John Conley,
his boss got immunity for giving him up. And the
White Bulger story, which you know, back in the day,

there was this myth about White Bulger, which I think
he put forth himself, that he was really this Robin
Hood figure. He kept drugs out of the neighborhood and
he didn't hurt women, which isn't true.

Speaker 4 (44:37):
He murdered women. But their next layer.

Speaker 5 (44:42):
Of that of like how deep the problem went, has
never really been assessed. And I'm critical of stories that
don't frame the deeper systemic problem. They just they paint
like one really bad guy and that's the He's the
one kind of raising the cops. It's not an issue

with law enforcement.

Speaker 3 (45:05):
At large, I feel. And we can dive into this more,
but to me, this movie perpetuates the myth of a
police force might have one or two bad apples via
you know, Colin being the corrupt cop who has this
in with the mob, but that most of them are

just doing their job and they're good guys actually and
blah blah blah. And I take a lot of issue
with that, obviously, and I feel like that's a pretty
big component of this movie.

Speaker 1 (45:42):
It's interesting that we're that this is a Scorsese movie,
and that it was like the movie he won his
first Oscar for, and even like there's a quote from
Scorsese about it that it's like kind of weird that
this is the movie that he won his oscar for,
because it's not even in his life top five of
like his best movies. And I just think that like

he's handled a lot of these themes that we're talking
about being missed like way better in his body of work.
So it just like ends up feeling a little dissonant.
Where there's plenty of Martin Scorsese movies where there are
cop and law enforcement characters and the movie is far
more critical of them, And there's plenty of Martin Scorsese

gangster movies where there's more shades of gray and complexity.
But I feel like this movie just kind of gets
like bogged down in the like I don't know, for me,
it feels like the ultimate message is like any duplicitous
person is gonna get.

Speaker 3 (46:41):
Killed or like they're gonna be departed.

Speaker 1 (46:44):
Yeah, it felt like an oversimplified theme and like in
service of that theme ends up bailing on a lot
of the anti cop and anti establishment themes you see
throughout Martin Scorsese's work, it's just like a weird one.
I don't know, And the more I watch it, the
more i'm you know, like there's certainly like moments where

you're like, okay, that is critical of policing, but then
it's always kind of scaled back to keep the through,
whether it's like, well, actually we want you to focus
on this love triangle that's not necessary now, or like
we want you to focus on this, this, and this.
It definitely seems to believe that, you know, law enforcement
is more good than bad, and that part of the

problem is that there's all these poor mobsters that are
infiltrating law enforcement, Like that's the issue. Yeah, and I
will say that the fact that Frank ultimately working with
law enforcement like that is a statement. It just I
feel like in characters like the Martin Sheen character and
the Mark Wahlberg character, like these are presented as like

these are our good cops who want to do good things,
and like Mark Wahlberg is so good that he gets fired.
Like it's just I don't think it's like certainly not
anywhere near the worst leaning into pro cop. I just
it feels really muddled though for me in this.

Speaker 5 (48:09):
Movie, Well, if you're watching for the Boston accents alone,
which is how I suggest watching this movie, I think
another point of context is at the time, So Bulger
was tipped off to a bust by his FBI handler
in the nineties, and so he was on the lamb
for sixteen years and he wasn't arrested until two thousand

and eleven.

Speaker 1 (48:32):
Yeah, so he could have seen The Departed in theaters.

Speaker 4 (48:36):
Oh, he absolutely did.

Speaker 5 (48:38):
He wasn't busted until then, So there still was this
element of mystery surrounding the story of this Boston Irish
gangster who was able to infiltrate local cops and the FBI.
So I think there's that's part of the intrigue. And also, again,
like I said, it's just the boys really go in

on their Boston accents. I think that's really what the
movie is about at the end.

Speaker 3 (49:03):
Of the day, It's really about that largely.

Speaker 4 (49:06):

Speaker 5 (49:06):
And Mark Wahlberg is also like very specifically his accent
is Dorchester like, so he gets to represent that and
really really go in.

Speaker 1 (49:16):
Before we get into our one woman, I just wanted
to shout out one of my favorite character actors is
in this movie. Mister Kevin Corrigan. Oh yes, he plays
the cousin.

Speaker 5 (49:26):

Speaker 1 (49:27):
No, one plays a dirt bag like mister Kevin Corgan.
He's not from Boston, He's from the Bronx. But I
was just like revisiting Kevin Corrigan's resume and I just
wanted to It's really fun to just read out his
character names, one right after the other, because he is
certainly typed. I just want to share a few. Jimmy Stella, Tella,

Frankie Spivak, Finn garrety Zlas Losowski, Flossy, Sean Garretty, Titus A. Moatto, Smitty,
Kevin Milkshake, what Jackie Moreno, Jimmy Pearson, Master Thief, Declan Sullivan, Venerio,

Vincent Bishop. Like it's this guy plays a type and
he plays I love Kevin Corey. He was on this
sitcom I watched when I was a kid called Grounded
for Life, and he played dirt bag uncle. And apparently
that resonated with me because I'm always really happy to
see him.

Speaker 5 (50:31):
Yeah. There are some like fairly good like Boston scenes,
Like so that's one scene with Leo when they're on
the couch and Leo's like, you know, I'm not a cup,
I'm your cousin, and.

Speaker 1 (50:41):
You must be my cousin.

Speaker 5 (50:44):
Shit, Like they're like, oh, that is like a very accurate,
like southyst scene of that time.

Speaker 1 (50:50):
Speaking from experience, cousins from Boston can be real pieces
of shit, It's true. Okay, let's talk about the one woman.

Speaker 3 (51:00):
Yes. Well, first, I'll say that something that I think
is kind of interesting about this movie is that there's
this motif I suppose throughout the movie about like male feelings,
and that comes by way of the Madaline character being
a mental health professional. Yeah, so I want to talk

a little bit more about like the male feelings of
it all. But yes, for Madeleine, I mean, classic case
of the movie has exactly one woman in it. She
to me, doesn't really feel like a real person or
a real psychiatrist. Like the way she does her job
is very questionable. She starts dating Colin, and I had

a very hard time suspending my disbelief that a mental
health professional would fall in love with this like emotionally
repressed cop, especially because a lot of the clients she
sees are emotionally repressed cops.

Speaker 5 (52:00):
He knows her, he gets her, He knows that he lies.
He's able to read her in this way that nobody
else does. And she has a past, but it doesn't
matter what it is, because she's like, let's keep it
about you.

Speaker 3 (52:14):
Oh well, no, that's her and Billy. I'm talking about
her in Colin because she starts dating both of them,
question Mark and both of them. I don't know why
she's into them.

Speaker 5 (52:24):
West the elevator banter, and also like she doesn't have a.

Speaker 4 (52:28):
Thick Boston accent.

Speaker 5 (52:29):
I know he does, and I think that's part of
like the tough boy like.

Speaker 4 (52:35):
I think there's some sort of element there as well.

Speaker 1 (52:38):
I mean, she's definitely bad at her job. There are
plenty of therapists who are irresponsible. There are plenty of
therapists who have fucked their clients. However, this is the
one therapist we see in the movie, as well as
the one woman, and so it just feels like it's
I do appreciate that at least it is plot relevant

at least once of what like her job is, because
sometimes I feel like you're just told, like she teachs
first grade and that, but it doesn't actually matter. She
could do anything, Like it is relevant what she's doing,
but not for very long, like after a while, and Susan,
you're totally right. I feel like there's multiple points in

the movie where she is set up to share more
about herself and then it doesn't happen. It's really weird
to me, and it's always like in service of no, actually,
let's talk about because this movie obviously has a gigantic
interest in like the three main men's background, and it

feels really egregious that like there's no interest in why
she's doing what she's doing. When she's asked, she's just like,
I just want to make a different, like just very vague.

Speaker 5 (53:51):
Well, I think that's why keeping her as a therapist
is so convenient, because there's no we don't need to
figure out anything else about her. Is just like a
female character that has a love interest on the elevator.
What we learn about her really just serves to prove
that Leonardo DiCaprio's character is like smart and is able

to read people.

Speaker 4 (54:14):
And yeah, so I.

Speaker 5 (54:15):
Think that there's nothing about her own personal background that
really is relevant to this plot and the way that
it's written.

Speaker 1 (54:22):
I mean, and also, like smart women date pieces of
shit all the time, right, But again, this is our
one woman that we have, and like, the only reason
we're to believe that she's going to go for DiCaprio
is because he cares that she was a child once.
But Matt Damon is like, I don't care that you're
a child. Get that shit out of my face. It's

just like, so everything with her is unbelievably vague.

Speaker 3 (54:48):
It's so bizarre, yeah, to the point where, like, you know,
another motif of this movie is like lying and honesty
versus dishonesty. And there's that scene where I think it's
the first scene where Billy goes to see Madeline as
like a client psychiatrist relationship, and he's like, well, what

about you?

Speaker 1 (55:09):
Do you lie?

Speaker 3 (55:10):
And she's like saying something kind of vague, but she's
implying that she does, or that everyone does. And then
later on, when she finds out that her boyfriend Colin
is the rat, she's like and I thought I was
the liar, And I'm like, what are we even talking
about here? What have you lied about?

Speaker 5 (55:29):
And what?

Speaker 1 (55:30):
I think that that's probably a reference to the fact
that she's been cheating.

Speaker 3 (55:33):
On him, cheating, right, which also, again I do not
understand why she finds Billy alluring because she has no
idea that he's working undercover. I'm pretty sure she just
thinks that he used to be a cop in training
and then was let go from the force because of

this like assault and battery charge.

Speaker 4 (55:56):
So, like, just.

Speaker 3 (55:57):
Imagine that you're a psychiatrist and you have a client
who seems to be a violent offender, you know, stuff
like that, who doesn't seem to be able to process
or regulate his emotions very well, and who screamed at
you during one of your appointments, and then he shows
up at your house randomly one night, and then you,

as the psychiatrist, are like, yes, I should have sex
with this person.

Speaker 1 (56:22):
Yeah, well, by Caitlyn, he cares that she was a
girl once.

Speaker 3 (56:28):
Yes, yes, yes, sorry I forgot you.

Speaker 1 (56:30):
See, she was left with no choice. I honestly didn't
because this movie gets so like YadA YadA in the
movie way. It didn't even connect to me. I was like, oh, yeah, Like,
why would she assume that he had participated in the
plot of The Departed? I guess I don't have that answer.

Speaker 3 (56:48):
Right, because the whole plot is happening outside of she
does her purview, right, She's at work.

Speaker 5 (56:55):
We know that she has issues, we just like aren't
really supposed to care what they are, and the fact
that Leo is kind of intuitive about that is what
makes him so attractive.

Speaker 4 (57:07):
I did think it was interesting.

Speaker 5 (57:08):
So you have the elevator banter with Matt Damon and
then they'd go on the date and he immediately.

Speaker 4 (57:15):
Like nags her.

Speaker 5 (57:16):
Yeah, he's like, who says like I would want to
go on a date with you, and then she gets
like nervous and then tries to prove herself. So I
did feel like that was at least like accurate to
some of what Yeah, the situation would have been.

Speaker 1 (57:32):
Sure, it's not much, but it's like I am glad
that she bails on him at the end, Like at
least it wasn't like, all right, let's make this work,
like no best of luck to her and maybe she
should possibly change professions. There were elements that it's like
they go out of the way to show us that
he is not a good partner, and she eventually does

leave him. I feel like you don't get that in
most movies, and also in a lot of Martin Scarsese movies.
But again, I think I'm just responding to just having
watched Goodfellas, where ironically the female lead and Goodfellas does
not leave her partner. But we understand why there are
other Scorsese crime movies that do have a vested interest

in the women that appear in this world and they're
you know, humanized, and even if it's not what you
would do in this situation, you do understand. And like
she's given narrative importance, and then in the case of Goodfellas,
like whole sequences that she is narrating that are directly

from her perspective, and you just like don't get anywhere
near that. With Vera Fremige's character, we don't know anything
about her, Susan, You're totally right where it's like we're
told that she has a past that means maybe she
would be more vulnerable towards pieces of shit like this,
but we.

Speaker 5 (58:57):
Don't know why her character is there to serve the
plot points of the men. Yeah, for sure, there's no
other point about her as a character, and I think
it's telling at the very end of the movie, like
the final scene we learned the name of Frank Costello's
girlfriend's when like Matt Damon calls up when when and

the fact that we just there's this character and we
have no idea what her name is even except for
the point is to like announce Frank Costello's death to somebody.

Speaker 1 (59:31):
Yeah, it feels like worse than if there was no
character introduced there. It's like, how dare you tell me
that this woman is important for one second.

Speaker 5 (59:41):
That's another one of my beefs with a lot of
like mafia narratives, is there's no woman's voice in.

Speaker 4 (59:47):
It at all.

Speaker 5 (59:49):
True crime is often ascribed to women. It's like a
woman's interest. But I think it's interesting that for some reason,
organized crime mob movies don't fit into the category that
we think of when you typically think of true crime.
I love like stories about female criminals and like the

actual impact that they've had. I talked to the daughter
of a local leader in Newton Watertown area, and the
book I think Leah Carrol's book Down the City where
her mother was murdered by the mob, is also like
a fascinating book if you're looking for like female voices
in mob stories, because they are you.

Speaker 4 (01:00:28):
W and far between.

Speaker 1 (01:00:30):
I feel like almost in every single genre that is
marketed at men, there were almost always people of all
genders involved, but the stories don't reflect that.

Speaker 4 (01:00:42):
Right. Then you have the other thing you have in
film noir.

Speaker 5 (01:00:45):
You have the batal where the woman is really powerful
and is like the source of all that goes wrong.
She's really sexually charged. She gets you into a lot
of trouble, you may die, but somehow you don't work
ret being with her. So that's either the female character
is like supremely evil and kind of like an emotionally

manipulative mastermind, or she's just not in the story at all.

Speaker 3 (01:01:11):
Yeah, put on the sidelines to go back to Madeline
really quick. I just could not get over the scene
where Billy shows up at her house and he's like, oh,
sorry if this is inappropriate, and she's like, no, it's
not inappropriate. You're not a client anymore. And it's like, yeah,
he's still stalking you. He did show up at your

house in the middle of the night. How does he
even know where you live? Why is he showing up
unannounced in the night in the rain? Like and then
why did you have sex with him? After that?

Speaker 1 (01:01:48):
I think that this is we have to talk about
it in a while, and I do need to rename it.
But like let's bouschemy test this so many scenes in
this movie. It only works because Leonardo DiCaprio is doing
it and it's young DiCaprio who's going to turn him away.
You're like, if you swap that out with just a guy,
she would have called the police.

Speaker 5 (01:02:09):
The reason her character works is because this is a
film about this charge relationship between like Leo and Matt Damon,
who are like two young.

Speaker 1 (01:02:17):
Men they should just kiss and call it a day,
like looking for.

Speaker 5 (01:02:22):
Their daddies in all the wrong places, and that she's
really they don't know who they the one another is,
or even the one another exists for a while, but
she's a connecting point between those two characters. Yeah, and
I think that's the only purpose that her character really serves.

Speaker 1 (01:02:40):
Yeah, And it's tricky because it's like the Jamie of
ten years ago whose brain didn't well worked both better
and worse depending on the situation. Sure, like would be
like why aren't there any women cops in this which
is like a valid question because the boss and police
department has more women and more people of color than

is reflected in this movie. Right, But it's not like
I was like, where's my girl? Boss? Cop.

Speaker 4 (01:03:07):
Women are murdered in this movie.

Speaker 1 (01:03:10):
Well, women are murdered or mocked. I feel like outside
of any other woman you see who is not Vera
for Meiga. And this also feels like kind of class
charged as well, where there's you know, men across the
class spectrum that get at least some characterization in this movie.
Definitely not true for women because we only have one

and she went to Harvard. This is the only women
we're really sort of like asked to consider or respect
even though we know nothing about her. And most of
the other women we see are either poor and there
to talk to Matt Damon or DiCaprio for a scene
to give them information, and they're kind of like dressing characters,

or they're sex workers that Jack Nicholson is throwing something
at and bossing around and treating poorly and so like
that's it's kind of it. Or they're murdered in one
kid like but it's like there's just so little Well.

Speaker 5 (01:04:05):
That's also like part of this movie is about class
to some extent. Yeah, I think that's the way that
you're supposed to sympathize with Matt Damon's character is that
he grows up poor without a father, and he's like
getting out of the southeast rough Southee neighborhood, right, and
then Leo grows up confused because he's like code switching.

Speaker 1 (01:04:28):
Am I rich? Am I poor?

Speaker 4 (01:04:31):

Speaker 2 (01:04:31):
Am I?

Speaker 5 (01:04:33):
Yeah? And then she's like went to Harvard, which is
again another part of the Boston area story that they're
trying to hit all the different kinds of Boston accents
in this film, and I think they do come.

Speaker 4 (01:04:46):
Close to that.

Speaker 1 (01:04:47):
I like that Susan's like, let's bring it back to
the accents. Let's talk about what matters.

Speaker 5 (01:04:51):
There's something in this movie that I think, like, oh,
why would you watch this movie? I think it would
be for like Boston accents.

Speaker 1 (01:04:57):
For sure, And to hear Rockton said, oh no, but
I agree. I mean, I think the class stuff in
this movie I feel like is one of the better
handled or at least like considered things, because I don't know,
I mean, sometimes it kind of gets lost in the weeds.
But like with the Matt Damon character, I think it
is like an interesting and like salient point that like

Scorsese is equipped to talk about of, Like, you know,
if you don't want to die in the class you
were born in America, What are the moral compromises that
you're going to be asked? And so like Matt, Damon
is like trying to hold down his credibility where he's from,
but also clearly wants, you know, like a nice apartment

in the back bay, which you cannot achieve through moral channels.
I've checked. It's not possible.

Speaker 3 (01:05:50):
You have to have ties to the mob to award it.

Speaker 1 (01:05:54):
But I do think, like from a class perspective, with
our main characters, this movie has a little or to
say than it does about like justice or sort of
other things that's trying to tackle.

Speaker 5 (01:06:06):
At least.

Speaker 3 (01:06:08):
I want to talk a little bit more about the
male feelings motif.

Speaker 1 (01:06:12):
Because boy feelings, boy feelings, I.

Speaker 3 (01:06:16):
Wish the movie had explored it more thoughtfully. It like
kind of touches on it, but it doesn't have anything
that meaningful to say about it.

Speaker 1 (01:06:25):
Another waste of the therapist character, because you're like, we're
set up for boy feelings and then we don't really
get at least not through her, we don't really get
boy feelings.

Speaker 5 (01:06:33):
Well, Damon does have a lot of complicated feelings about Fireman.

Speaker 3 (01:06:38):
You know that he has very homophobic feelings about them.

Speaker 4 (01:06:42):
Specifically, especially he has some of the public feelings.

Speaker 5 (01:06:45):
At the same time, he's like literally like has a
very like subservient relationship to Jack Nicholson.

Speaker 4 (01:06:54):
There is this like male connection between two of them.

Speaker 1 (01:06:58):
That like very very so.

Speaker 5 (01:07:00):
I mean, I don't really think there's a ton of
insight to put on the language.

Speaker 4 (01:07:04):
The slurs that they use, because they really do overdo it.

Speaker 5 (01:07:08):
And that's not to deny Boston's history of racism at all,
but I do think there is if you're searching for
male feelings. Is like anguish about like firefighters that he
addresses like primarily using bublic slurs, is like, okay, maybe
there's some there to unpack.

Speaker 3 (01:07:27):
Which of the movie doesn't really bother doing. I think
the closest it comes to, like trying to say anything
is that it's implied that he's experiencing a rectile dysfunction.
In one scene with Madeleine where she's like, do you
want to talk about last night? Colin No response, Madeleine,
It's all right. Guys tend to make too big a
deal of it. Colin No response, Madeleine, It's actually quite common, Colin.

I gotta go to work. And then he leaves, and
then in a later scene with Alec Baldwin where he's
talking to him about how it's like good for a
man's image to be married, and Alec Baldwin's like, yeah,
it lets people know that you have a dick that works,
and Colin's like, oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, my dick.

It totally works, and in fact it's working overtime.

Speaker 1 (01:08:16):
It's the workingest one.

Speaker 4 (01:08:18):
I talk about that dicks a lot.

Speaker 5 (01:08:20):
Like the first word that kinds out of Mark Wahlberg's
mouth is about like a child's genitalia.

Speaker 4 (01:08:27):
It's bad. It's bad.

Speaker 1 (01:08:29):
It does feel like over the top playing into regional stereotypes.
While it is also true that people like that do exist,
but in the world of this movie, every single person
is like my dick, my dick, my dick, throw a
phone in a woman's head, and it.

Speaker 5 (01:08:48):
Seems like they're kind of enjoying themselves while they're saying
these things. And that's what really gives me concern, especially
one of the points of the movie where they show
like an Asian cart tell, and the fact that the
takeaway with the Asian cartel is that they're more violent, and.

Speaker 4 (01:09:06):
They keep going about, oh, this is America that really
it was off.

Speaker 5 (01:09:10):
Yeah, it's not accurate either, No, historically, yeah, of weapons
of choice, Yeah it's not.

Speaker 3 (01:09:17):
Actually, yeah, he's like, in America, having a gun, we
don't feel like that, you know, adds inches to your dick.
And it's like, that's absolutely what so many Americans think
about gun ownership. So I don't know what he's talking about.

Speaker 1 (01:09:30):
And that's how everyone in the movie is acting like ridiculous.

Speaker 4 (01:09:34):
There's no accuracy to that.

Speaker 5 (01:09:35):
There's no point of the story that somehow, like the
Asian gangsters are more violent than the horrific violence that
we see in the film.

Speaker 3 (01:09:43):
Yeah, especially because it's it's not even a cartel. They're
like government workers in China, are they? I mean, who knows,
that's what they'd say in the movie.

Speaker 5 (01:09:51):
But I definitely think that like Asian organized crime is
part of like our criminal history in Boston. For sure,
that's been completely overlooked. But it is not depicted accurately
or sensitively here, right, or.

Speaker 1 (01:10:05):
Really at all, because it's just one scene and as usual,
like Frank is dropping slurs and making broad statements about
justice that are untrue, and like you don't even get
the chance to really meet those characters who are just
told things.

Speaker 5 (01:10:22):
About them, especially in a film with Mark Wahlberg, that
makes me like easy, yeah, very very uneasy.

Speaker 4 (01:10:29):
Totally, And there is a real culture of saying these things.

Speaker 5 (01:10:34):
I listen to like hours of FBI recordings of this
state police officer turned bookie like threatening death threats in
this thing, and you hear these men basically talking like
they are just constant talk about their genitalia and slurs.

Speaker 4 (01:10:50):
It certainly happens, but right.

Speaker 1 (01:10:53):
This is just like not a subtle, thoughtful movie. I
think it's maybe just my main feeling about it, but yeah,
I mean as far as the rectile dysfunction thing, I
think first of all, that like it just felt like
thrown in there in a way that like just to
justify shame and anger he was clearly already feeling, and like,

this movie is not handled to say anything intelligent about
that very real problem. I at least appreciate that she
was like being kind about it, which I think most
people are.

Speaker 5 (01:11:24):
We have one emotional be and it's still about his
deck exactly exactly.

Speaker 1 (01:11:28):
Yeah, I think this movie works as far as like
a movie about like what Catholic guilt and shame can
do to people across the class spectrum, but only if
they're already Irish men.

Speaker 3 (01:11:44):
I just think that there was so much more to
say about, like men repressing their emotion and how that
manifests in the world, and men seeking validation from other
men and how that manifests. You see glimpses of it,
and you see suggestions of these things, but I wish

that had been a far greater theme or something that
the movie explores more thoughtfully, because it's all right there,
they're like mentioning it. But yeah, He's just like, but
we don't really actually have that much to say about it,
except that all these people are going to end up
dead because they can't talk about their feelings.

Speaker 1 (01:12:22):
That's the wild thing. Yeah, it's like all the ingredients
are present, but it doesn't quite come together into something
as thoughtful as other stuff. Is there anything else you
wanted to touch on, Susan before we go into ratings?

Speaker 4 (01:12:36):

Speaker 5 (01:12:37):
I think if you're looking to study up on Whitey Bulger,
my favorite book is actually by David Boweri, who's a
br reporter who wrote a book about Whitey Bulger that's online.
It's not one of the there's a lot of books.
There's Black Mass which is fantastic. There's a book by
Kevin Cullen and Chillie Murphy, but David Boweri's is my favorite,

and no one knows about it. And if so, if
you're looking for the history of the bullshit, I would
say check it out.

Speaker 1 (01:13:06):

Speaker 3 (01:13:07):
The movie, as we said, does not even come close
to passing the Bechdel test because it would never think
to put two women in the same room together.

Speaker 1 (01:13:17):
No, it really is like Vera Farmiga lives in a
little space shuttle. She can travel between her apartment, Matt
Damon's apartment, and her office, but you're not going to
see her anywhere other than in a room with a
movie star. That's sort of where she tends to be.
And then all the other women, I think that if
you do occasionally get a name, they are being verbally

abused by Jack Nicholson by and large usually Yes, yeah, yes.

Speaker 3 (01:13:46):
As far as our nipple scale, where we rate the
movie on a scale of zero to five nipples based
on examining it through an intersectional feminist lens, I don't
think the rates very highly. I'm gonna give this movie
one nipple. I generally like Martin Scorsese and his movies,

and we love a Leonardo DiCaprio performance, although does this
movie even count because he wet in this movie. I
think he's wet from rainwater, but he is not in
his clothes in a body of water, So like, what's
the even point of the movie If you're not gonna
put Leonardo DiCaprio in a body of water while he's

fully clothed, it's not canon. I don't know why they
wouldn't put Leonardo DiCaprio in water anyway. One Nipple for
its failure to not really say anything that thoughtful about
male feelings, just sort of presenting it, but then like
not because the movie's too focused on the plot, like

who's the guy, who's this guy? Who's that guy? Which
is the guy that I'm looking for? And I don't
know that he's the guy yet, And it's just like
so much of that, and at the expense of all
of the character development. And it's especially noticeable for the
one woman who's present in Madeline, who some vague things
are relayed to us as far as her characterization, but

none of them really makes sense, and her choices and
the gut again, yes, smart women go after dipshit horrible men.
It happened, but also like, why does she fuck both
of these horrible men? I don't know why she's making
the choices she's making. So one nipple and I will

give it to Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic.

Speaker 1 (01:15:41):
Yeah, I had to go one as well. I get
progressively more bummed out by this movie the more I
see it. It definitely doesn't make sense as an Oscar
winning Martin Scorsese movie to be But I like, I mean,
Boston representation at at all time high. Do they say
brocks it? Yes they do. But for a movie that,
like you would think, because of who's making it, would

have a lot to say about masculinity and justice, I
don't think that this movie really has a lot to
say about either. And so it's a B tier Martin
Scorsese movie for me. And there's absolutely nothing about women.
And there's an acknowledgement of discrimination across class lines, across

race lines, and there's certainly a lot of it's like
acknowledged that like homophobia and racism exists in this world,
but it doesn't have much to say about it outside
of that. There's a scene where Matt Damon tells Anthony
Anderson like, you're a black guy in Boston, you're already fucked,
which fair point, but also like that is leading up

to nothing. It's just like saying it to acknowledge that
racism exists in this city. I don't know. I just
feel like there's a lot of setup that doesn't go anywhere.

Speaker 5 (01:16:56):
We hit it you in the face with that, like
again and again and again.

Speaker 1 (01:16:59):
And that's a very valid thing to want to talk about,
but this movie doesn't want to talk about it, so
I don't understand. It's really messy and is more coppaganda
e than I remembered and as a bummer. So I'm
going to give it one nipple, and I'm going to
give it to sell machine maker, who edits all of

Martin Scarsese's movies nice and also say that. I think
that the biggest red flag about DiCaprio is that he's like,
you don't have cats. I like that. I'm like, all right,
oh yeah, what the fuck was that? He's not for me?

Speaker 3 (01:17:33):
What was that comment about.

Speaker 1 (01:17:35):
I think it's conflating cats with lonely women.

Speaker 4 (01:17:38):
Maybe he's allergic.

Speaker 3 (01:17:40):
Maybe that's giving him too much credit.

Speaker 1 (01:17:42):
Yeah, it's true, Susan, what would you rate this movie.

Speaker 5 (01:17:46):
I'll give it to one, I'll give it okay, I'll
give a nipple to like Jack Nicholson's outfits in this film,
and he doesn't dress anything like Whitey Bulger, and I
went to an auction of all Whitey Bulger, the things
Whitey just like.

Speaker 4 (01:18:01):
War old sneakers.

Speaker 5 (01:18:03):
Jack Nicholson definitely shops at Violin's basement like the old
Boston basement. It's not indicative of like the winter Hill
gang style, but it is indicative of like a mobster
at a certain point of time.

Speaker 4 (01:18:19):
And I do respect the film for that.

Speaker 5 (01:18:21):
The costumes are good, the costumes are good, accents better
than most.

Speaker 4 (01:18:27):
But it would be hard for me to recommend this movie.
It's just slur after slur.

Speaker 5 (01:18:33):
If you wanted to really dive into film history, I'd
say certainly watch it, though. And the acting is great
at points sure necessarily cohesively, you know.

Speaker 1 (01:18:44):
Yeah, there's like no person in this movie that you
can't find a better performance of them somewhere else.

Speaker 3 (01:18:51):
Well, Susan, thank you so much for joining us and
lending your expertise on Boston and New England area crime.
Where can people follow you on social media? Plug whatever
you want to plug.

Speaker 5 (01:19:05):
Right now, I'm really focusing on the response to the
reporting my book and which I reveal that members of
law enforcement and the victims who are marijuana dealers, we're
part of the same criminal milieu, which maybe one reason
why law enforcement didn't aggressively pursue this triple homicide, which
had it been solved, could have prevented the Boston marathon bombing.

Speaker 4 (01:19:26):
And there's been no explanation about that, no answers. People
in power have not been held to account.

Speaker 5 (01:19:34):
So I'm taking notes on how those in power do
respond to the reporting in my book on my new
substack all kind notes, but folks should go to my
website Zalkind dot info. You can buy the book.

Speaker 4 (01:19:47):
You can follow me on Instagram and watch the docuseries. Yay, amazing.

Speaker 1 (01:19:54):
Thank you so much for joining us. Our first crime
reporter guest is my apps Pressure. Thanks for yea gum
shooting through this with us, and you can find us
all the normal places Instagram. You can follow our Patreon
aka Matreon, where for five bucks a month you can
get access to two additional episodes with Caitlin and myself

and we're going on tours soon.

Speaker 3 (01:20:19):
That's right. You can buy tickets to our shows on
our Shrek Tanner tour. So you will be seeing Leonardo
DiCaprio in his clothes in water.

Speaker 1 (01:20:29):
It's going to be stopping, wet, stopping, so slippery. That's
slippery as tour yet. So if you haven't got your
tickets to that, there's still tickets available in most cities.
Will be in London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Dublin and.

Speaker 3 (01:20:47):
Offered for the Saint Audio Podcast Festival. And our tickets
are on link tree slash Bechtel Cast.

Speaker 1 (01:20:56):
Yes, so go there.

Speaker 3 (01:20:57):
And with that we were shipping out to Boston. Let's
now ship away from Boston.

Speaker 5 (01:21:05):

Speaker 3 (01:21:10):
The Bechdel Cast is a production of iHeartMedia, hosted by
Caitlin Derante and Jamie Loftis, produced by Sophie Lichterman, edited
by Mola Boord. Our theme song was composed by Mike
Kaplan with vocals by Katherine Voskressensky. Our logo and merch
is designed by Jamie Loftis and a special thanks to
Aristotle Assevedo. For more information about the podcast, please visit

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