Film Trace

Film Trace

We trace the Life of a Film from conception to production all the way to its release and reception. You know when you dive into a film's wikipedia and imdb after watching it? Then the director's page, then the actor's page. Our show does that for you. We use our nerd superpowers to obsessively tell the story of a movie: how it came to be, how it played out, and what it means today. It is a crash course on a single film filled with primary documents, lovely asides, and frequent guest voices. It is an investigation and celebration of films both great and small.


January 28, 2023 61 min

The sixth and final film in our Risqué Romance cycle is Luca Guadagnino's meatlovers romance, Bones and All (2022).

Coming off his break out art-house hit Call Me by Your Name (2017) and his wonderfully bizarre remake of Suspiria (2018), Luca Guadagnino rejoined with white hot Timothée Chalamet to adapt this young adult novel about the ills of eating human flesh. The book, a vegan polemic, is translated here by Luca with his normal ...

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We decided to do an end of the year show for 2022. Life has been hectic so we haven't been able to post on our normal schedule, and we have a longer break coming up before Season 10 of Film Trace kicks off. So we decided to do a one-off show to give the people what they want: Drama!

Chris and Dan present the top five behind the scenes dramas in film for 2022. The goal of our show is to tell the listener the story of how a film came ...

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The fifth film in our Risqué Romance cycle is Ang Lee's western romance, Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Special Guest: Amanda Jane Stern - writer, actor, and producer from New York City. She wrote, produced, and starred in the new erotic thriller Perfectly Good Moment, soon to be playing at a film festival near you!

When Brokeback came out in the mid-Aughts, it was supported by effuse buzz and whispered homophonic jokes. This was not unl...

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December 11, 2022 57 min

The fourth film in our Risqué Romance cycle is Lana and Lily Wachowski's debut film, Bound (1996).

Like the Wachowskis' more successful and canonical sophomore effort, The Matrix, Bound both works wonderfully on its own as a playful lesbian-centered noir and as a challenge to the WWII-era subgenre, as well as modern crime films writ large, to reconsider and deconstruct masculinity and femininity alike. Essentially a chamber drama wi...

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The third film in our Risqué Romance cycle is the small yet delightful, Valley Girl (1983).

Valley Girl, the paradigm of an indie film, transcended its own means of production to become an oddly dismissed 80s mall romcom. As one reviewer aptly stated, the influence of Valley Girl was so massive that it's hard to watch it without feeling a sense of deja vu. Helmed by Martha Coolidge, who went on to direct the classic Real Genius and ...

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The second film in our Risqué Romance cycle is Terrence Malick's debut film, Badlands (1973)

Loosely based on the real-life murdering spree committed by Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate in the late 1950s, Badlands quickly steers clear of true crime tropes and traditional story structure. While Terrence Malick is at his least idiosyncratic here, the vibe and flow of the film are resolutely unique and unexpected. Perhaps the ...

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November 12, 2022 61 min

The first film in our Risqué Romance cycle is Stanley Kubrick's infamous Lolita (1962).

We start out this new season by tiptoeing through the minefield that is Lolita, a notorious film adaptation of the even more notorious novel by Vladimir Nabokov. It is hard to fathom that housewives and bankers were reading Lolita on the subway in the 1950s, but that is how popular this novel was during the Eisenhower years. This classic unfilmab...

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October 2, 2022 63 min

The sixth and final film in our Absurdist Action cycle is Seijun Suzuki's masterpiece, Branded to Kill (1967)

When we decided to do Absurdist Action as the theme of this cycle, we both struggled to find a starting point. Over-the-top action movies were the lingua franca of 1980s American cinema, and we had dozens of Reagan-era films to choose from as an origin. But as we tried to trace the theme back further, things became quite mur...

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September 24, 2022 57 min

The fifth film in our Absurdist Action cycle is Michael Cimino's wonderful debut, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot.

Special Guest: Daniel Malone from the great ‘You Talkin’ to Me?’ film podcast

Michael Cimino will forever be a mystery. He seemingly appeared out of nowhere with Thunderbolt and Lightfoot in 1974 after winning favor with Clint Eastwood by punching up the script for his Dirty Harry flick Magnum Force. Cimino followed up his deb...

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September 18, 2022 62 min

The fourth film in our Absurdist Action cycle is Walter Hill's buddy cop paradigm, 48 Hours.

Special Guest: Ryan Hendricks, friend of the show and Hollyweird insider

The buddy cop movie would not exist without 48 Hours. Ironically, the buddies involved aren't both cops. Third pick Eddie Murphy has his breakout role here playing a convict put on temporary release for forty-eight hours to help track down a cop killer. Nick Nolte is a g...

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September 10, 2022 67 min

The third film in our Absurdist Action cycle is Michael Bay's debut, the paradigm of absurd action movies, Bad Boys.

Special Guest: Harry Mackin from the fantastic Trylove Podcast.

Bayhem has its own origin story. Shot with a small budget and jerry-rigged script, Michael Bay exploded into the multiplex with this longshot buddy cop movie. Originally meant as a vehicle for SNL all-rounders, Dana Carvey and Jon Lovitz, Bad Boys was sav...

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September 3, 2022 65 min

The second film in our Absurdist Action cycle is Edgar Wright's iconic action comedy, Hot Fuzz.

Special Guest: Max Covil, Rotten Tomato Approved Film Critic from the great It's the Pictures podcast and newsletter.

If Edgar Wright is an auteur, then Hot Fuzz could easily be his calling card. This hyper-rewatchable UK export plays dual roles as both a great action movie as well as a meticulous satire of action movies past. Here we get ...

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August 27, 2022 57 min

A New Cycle Begins! The first film in our Absurdist Action cycle is the rock 'em sock 'em 2022 release, Bullet Train.

The action comedy is a delicate balance. Too much comedy and the stakes feel too low. Too little and the tone becomes muddled. Bullet Train attempts to walk this fine line and stumbles into an abyss of tedium right from the start. Brad Pitt is a loosey-goosey hitman who is tasked with finding a briefcase amongst othe...

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July 23, 2022 60 min

The sixth and last film in our Existential Thriller cycle is Alfred Hitchcock's farewell to London, the macabre and dissociated Frenzy.

Upon release, Frenzy was widely seen as a return to form for Hitchcock, but it has developed a rather odd reputation since its release fifty years ago. This gritty serial killer romp through Covent Garden has been cited as a forerunner to the bleaker side of thrillers we have seen in spades over the...

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July 16, 2022 57 min

The fifth film in our Existential Thriller cycle is William Friedkin's grim and precise Sorcerer (1977).

Released in the shadow of Star Wars and Friedkin's own masterpiece, The Exorcist, this bizarre down-and-out adventure film was a total financial failure. Critics didn't much like it either. But time has a funny way of shuffling the deck, and Sorcerer has found itself with a lucky draw. Film critics, nerds, and aficionados have re...

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July 9, 2022 74 min

The fourth film in our Existential Thriller cycle is Neil Jordan's infamous 1992 political enigma, The Crying Game (1992).

A film's notoriety can easily mute or distort what is actually on the screen. The Crying Game is an interesting and rich movie that was unfortunately overwhelmed by its own infamy. The film's US distributor, Miramax, decided to start a sly whisper campaign to create controversy surrounding a plot twist in the fi...

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July 2, 2022 62 min

The third film in our new Existential Thrillers cycle is David Fincher's Norcal mindbender, The Game (1997)

David Fincher is one the most powerful and popular auteurs working in film and tv today. We revisit what has strangely and wrongly become one of his minor works. Fincher teamed up with Micheal Douglas in the pre-Fight Club days to concoct this highly entertaining yet perplexing thriller. The audience is effectively thrust into...

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June 25, 2022 62 min

The second film in our new Existential Thrillers cycle is Tony Gilroy's aughtie classic, Michael Clayton (2007).

On paper, Michael Clayton probably seems like a taut legal thriller played to the middle-aged set, a John Grisham movie with the latest A-Listers. Tony Gilroy chose a much different path by crafting a cerebral thriller infused with corporate nihilism and existential longing. Clooney plays Clayton as a formerly charming ba...

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June 11, 2022 62 min

The first film in our new Existential Thrillers cycle is Alex Garland's bizarre and bold Men (2022).

Alex Garland has quietly made himself into one of the more exciting filmmakers of the A24 set. The former novelist turned screenwriter turned auteur exploded onto the arthouse scene with his first film Ex Machina (2014). The success of that film led to his major studio debut Annihilation (2018). The spectacular failure of that film l...

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May 21, 2022 61 min

The sixth and final film in our Self-Aware Horror cycle is the landmark exploitation film, The Last House on the Left (1972). 

Made off the proceeds of a successful pornographic film, this genuinely gonzo horror film sparked the careers of two kings of horror, Wes Craven and Friday the 13th creator, Sean Cunningham. On the surface, this rape-revenge exploitation film plays it straight: shock, rape, murder, revenge. But beneath ...

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