Home The Monster’s Den: Favorite Brian De Palma Films (w/Mike Portnoy)

The Monster’s Den: Favorite Brian De Palma Films (w/Mike Portnoy)

by smart

greetings everyone pete pardo here from sea tranquility welcome to another edition of the monsters dan we’ve got in the co captain’s chairs tonight returning once again to see a tranquility mr mike portnoy from winery dogs sons of apollo dream theater neil morse band or nmb flying colors so many other yeah so what and so forth uh we got jamie laszlo in the house and we got dan brown in the house from the warehouse in newberg new york so tonight’s topic is all about brian de palma so if you guys watched our epic alfred hitchcock show from a couple weeks ago mr de palma has often been tagged with kind of like a guy who really worshipped hitchcock’s films and has been said to have done quite a few films that have been in the kind of uh homage so to speak uh to the great hitchcock but he’s done all sorts of different genres as we were talking off-camera before he’s done thrillers and semi-horror films and war films and all sorts of crazy comedies and things like that so uh i’ve asked everybody to go deep through 30 odd films that he has directed and i’ve asked everybody to pick out their five favorite the palma films ranked from five to one we’ll probably hit on a couple of honorable mentions at the end so as we were all talking this was not easy because a lot of really great films so it’ll be interesting to see what everybody’s come up with so uh i’m gonna have mike kick us off with his number five so just i know the format so am i just doing one at a time we go around yeah one at a time yep yep well you can’t talk about brian de palma without talking about hitchcock first like you mentioned i don’t think there’s ever been a director that’s been so um derivative well derivatives maybe not the right term that’s that’s almost an insult but so uh influenced by another director and uh so many films in the tapalma um body of work here is so hitchcock i mean you could really see uh vertigo rear window psycho you could see all those films in here and even i remember his nickname you know hitchcock was the master of suspense i remember brian de palma i don’t know if somebody else coined him this or he coined himself this but he was called the master of the macabre and uh so even his nickname was uh you know was was influenced by hitch and uh and there was a time where they both coexist because um you know when when de palma started making films late 60s early 70s you know hitchcock was still doing it too in fact uh sisters and frenzy both came out i think in 73 and and frenzy was like one of hitchcock’s most graphic films i think in his entire filmography so it’s interesting that there were a couple of years where they were coexisting and you know they were both making films at the same time but on to the list here so uh coincidentally this wasn’t by by design but coincidentally my list goes uh chronological pretty much with the exception of one so walking through my list it’s almost like you could see his development and that wasn’t on purpose but my number five is what i just mentioned uh 1973’s sisters and light is blurring it out but there you go and this is the criterion version and this was i guess um uh de palma’s first real step into hitchcock lane because he started with with greetings and hi mom both of which were with like de palma’s uh de niro’s first films but they were more like social political comedies you know and very very uh you know strangely shot very psychedelic very late 60s uh so sisters was his first time to really spread his hitchcock wings and um once i went down the depalma rabbit hole i guess i discovered the palmer probably in the 70s late 70s or early 80s and went backwards and when i saw this it blew my mind because it was the first time i had seen the use of a split screen as as much as it’s utilized here and and he went on to use split screen in all his films it’s in carry it’s in snake eyes it’s in scarface you know he went on to use a body double he dressed to kill it became like one of his staples but sisters was the first time i had ever seen it used so predominantly and uh there’s one sequence in there especially where charles derning is looking through the through the apartment across the building of course shades of rear window but you have uh his perspective and then you had um two different perspectives going up into margaret kitter’s apartment so you see it from inside the apartment and then from outside the apartment where jennifer salt is walking up and it fascinated me when i first saw that sequence i was like how the [ __ ] did this guy do this and now of course you see it all the time in fact uh gaspar noe’s uh upcoming film uh vortex is shot entirely in split screen that’s coming out later this year or next year so but you know so now everybody does it but this was the first time i had seen it and there’s so many technical moments in this that were like taking hitchcock to the next level and hitchcock was always such a visual uh innovator you know the shot you know you study rope you study psycho you study all of hitchcock’s films and you could tell that de palma studied hitchcock’s films inside and out and was taking the groundwork that hitch laid out and then taking it to a new level uh with with new with new tricks and uh so many of his films have that but sisters is my number five i love it it’s uh it was been remade recently uh a couple years ago not not nearly as good but uh but this is the original this is the criterion version and there’s a lot of criterions they’ve been doing a lot of the department stuff they did dress skill and blow out so uh they’ve been on board with a lot of these reissues and um i think this has interviews and and audio discussions so yeah but uh that’s my number five sisters great choice you know what i find interesting about that movie that i noticed when i watched it recently there is a scene where uh not kidder but the other woman yeah she’s taking a cake out of refrigerator and of course you see her from the refrigerator’s point of view and you know whenever they whenever they do that they cut out a hole in the back of the refrigerator but you actually see the hole in the movie because the camera pans back and goes to the left you’re like oh look there’s the hole it almost takes you out of it for a second but it’s kind of cool at the same time there’s a lot of stuff in in sisters too that reminds me of uh polanski’s uh repulsion i don’t know if you guys know repulsion yeah great but very very similar like you know the you know not taking your medication and her going psychotic and yeah and also the back story is very interesting you know it’s interesting when they show the old film footage of the two sisters being separated remind me of uh some stuff that they did on lost uh years ago but the dharma initiative had a little bit of that kind of uh vibe to it as well well he basically based the script he based the script on an actual incident with siamese twins wow a russian russian couple uh and that’s what he was inspired by you know it’s so funny to one thing for some reason and had nothing to do with influence or whatever but as i was watching that film in the back of my mind a voice was saying as many times in my day but it was saying david cronenberg david cronenberg it just reminds me of a cronenberg film just that creepy not that cronenberg was not even in the game at this point but i just it just just screams like a david cronenberg weirdness about it and to add to jamie’s point and something that the palm i think does in all of his films is that he has a thin line of reality and fantasy within the film what is real and what is not real for example the ice box is an interesting situ ice box my age a refrigerator where it kind of backs out and goes away you know so it’s you know it’s fake but it’s part of the storytelling he does it with murals he does it with a lot of things what separates reality and fantasy but sorry i just want to stay back while we’re on a roll and it rewind i mean i mentioned frenzy earlier because it was made the same year uh even i haven’t seen frenzy in a long time but even the disposal of the bodies like i assume people that watch this you could can handle spoiler alerts right you can’t tiptoe around talking about the movies there you go uh but the way that the body is disposed of in sisters remind me and then suddenly the couch gets driven away on a truck or whatever reminds me a lot of the the touches that hitchcock had in frenzy as well yeah and what’s great about i think you know for sisters if you’ve never seen the film before really until the very end you’re still kind of wondering what the deal is with these two with the two sisters right and then in the end it becomes clearly obvious but and i think that goes down to a great performance by margot kidder who also i don’t think has ever looked lovelier than in that film but it’s a great great great job really good cast in the film and you start to see all the de palma regulars starting to show up right from that film and going on which i’m sure we’ll hit on today so the uh the cop from give me your breaks in it off sweet okay yes yep all right cool uh jamie with this cool team b shirt on what do you got we are team b that’s right there you go dan yours is in the mail oh thank you but you know what you know i made this like two weeks ago when pete was saying we got team b coming up so i’m going to make a t-shirt that says team b i thought it was a t since we got you mike in the mix team in the a team today there you go that’s right just for one day we’re the 18. there you go yeah i’m gonna wear it the whole time all right my number five might surprise you guys i don’t know i’m going with casualties of war now this is kind of like do you remember pete when you uh counted down the d.o albums yep you put sacred heart a little bit higher than maybe it should be because you had a warm spot for it when you were a kid and you still got that warm spot maybe it hasn’t aged quite as good but you still have that warm spot that’s how i am with this this is the sacred heart of brian de palma movies because i loved it when i was 18. as disturbing as it is i loved it uh for uh anyone out there doesn’t know it’s uh during the vietnam war uh soldier finds himself on the outside of his own squad as they kidnap this girl from the village and they basically just use her as a sex slave as they trek through the jungle and take breaks they use her so um this is the monsters den but i do believe that monsters come in all shapes and sizes and i would say sean penn in this movie is a bona fide monster he actually never talked to michael j fox on the set and there is a there’s a scene towards the end where michael j fox has to get angry and hit a guy with a shovel you know michael j fox has that nice persona about him especially in the 80s and he could not get to that angry place and i watched the palma documentary recently where it’s just brian de palma talking in a chair the whole time there’s no narration there’s no input from other people there’s film clips but it’s just the palma talking about himself it’s still interesting and he said that during the shovel scene sean penn got up and shoved michael j fox to the floor or to the ground just to get him angry and he got up and did the scene and then what i find is great in such a you know because sean penn was a bit of a dick in the 80s you know if you remember the tabloids so at the end mute me if you don’t want to hear at the end when they’re all convicted of rape and michael j fox is sitting there in the courtroom and they all walk past them uh sean penn whispers something into michael j fox’s ear and you as a viewer cannot hear what he says but you see the facial expression of michael j fox and i did not know what he said until i watched the diploma documentary and according to him sean penn whispered into his ear remember this is 1989 tv actor how great is that that almost made this movie [ __ ] to my number one but he had already done back to the future so he had bigger numbers you know back to the future versus fast times come on yeah i know i know but maybe you thought that was just a whim okay that was not back the family dies boys yeah but i really asked the question though i think the true meaning diploma says it was a metaphor for what we do to countries when we go to war we raped them but to me it really asked the question how long do you need to be in war before you start when you how long does it take before you start stop seeing human beings as human beings you know because even john c reilly’s defense at the end he asked him why didn’t uh michael j fox’s character whatever his name is why didn’t he partake you think he goes well well he was new i was there like three weeks before him so he’s basically saying yeah so i i the war does that to you three more weeks of war and you start raping girls what can i say yeah awful but um yeah so that’s my number five casualties of war that just came on a couple nights ago i was laying in bed at three in the morning and it came on and of course once it’s on you can’t turn it off right and de palma kind of remade almost the same exact themes with the redacted many many years later with uh the iraq war so it’s he really is kind of touched on that theme with two different films of his yeah underrated film i i quite enjoy that a lot of out of a lot you know there’s so many good like vietnam films uh that’s always been one of my favorites it’s a powerful scene when she’s walking down the train tracks bloody and stabbed i don’t know why they scream she’s getting away you just tried killing her and where is she going getting away to where doesn’t make 100 sense but it’s still a powerful image of her walking down yeah yep good choice all right dan what do you got for number five i’m i’m i’m in with mike right now i’m gonna go with sisters and uh yeah he depalma has always had a a rather dicey relationship with the studio system uh he doesn’t like to take orders too well he likes to do things because his own visionary but he came back to new york the east coast uh after a short stint in hollywood nothing came of it and he came back a little disenfranchised and he went to work on sisters which you know it has all these elements going for it i mean it’s it takes place in the garden spot of the you know of new york barrow staten island which is very weird this offbeat location uh charles derning who runs a window washing business who reminds us that he graduated from the new york which at the new york school of detective engineering because he thinks he’s a pi um and then it’s you know it goes along and it’s got some creepy elements but the the best part of that film aside from margot kidder is uh william finley who plays her doctor who was a long-term or longtime friend of de palma they met each other at sarah lawrence college in the film department and william finley eventually played the phantom of the paradise he played this doctor elmo or whatever his name was he also appears in uh the film the black dahlia as a killer and he’s just he looks the same like he has an age he’s just creepy and i think you know i guess when i when i why maybe i mentioned earlier about when i watch uh sisters um well i think it’s like cronenberg he reminds me of david cronenberg’s character in night breed where he played the psychopathic doctor uh maybe that’s what what triggered it with me but the great thing about sisters it moves along you’ve got this the body situation the homage from hitchcock the introduction of the split screen um but all of a sudden it’s weird and then as soon as jennifer salt uh ends up ending up in the sanitarium not by her own choice it just takes this like jump off the tracks and gets weird with that black and white footage and the creepy doctors it’s it and i believe that de palma was probably influenced with that footage with like the with the the flashlight or the light on it uh of the willowbrook uh expose that um what’s his name haralda rivera did in 1969 or 70 uh when he went out to willowbrook which is an insane asylum and he wanted to show the conditions which these people were living in and they had to sneak in and he had nothing more than a small camera with like a very tiny film camera light on it so i had this really weird sinister i have a funny thing he probably was influenced by that but the film goes along really well the one thing i just don’t seem to understand yes spoiler alert the body does uh is in a couch number one the couch is so heavy now after a few days wouldn’t that wouldn’t he start getting a little ripe and a little seepage you know coming out of that thing but that’s that depends whose couch it was you never know and then again if it was a sealy posturepedic or was that what was the one the old castro convertibles they were pretty good they absorbed a lot of a lot of moisture but um yeah it’s it’s uh and then the you know once again spoiler alert since you know it’s hard to explain to palma he always has these really shocking endings you know where something happens like as in carrie in a few things i thought the ending of of sisters was a very much out of a left field like oh [ __ ] it made me laugh that somebody is still on the case and there’s the couch yeah and it just said this week continued i i found that so amusingly wow watching that so but sisters is it a great middle effort it strikes me as a grindhouse film on a large-scale budget and he pulls it off effectively and it did get great reviews it’s always been revered as a very very well done film although he got lambasted years later for other things that’s it sisters cool all right all right my number five uh number five was a hard choice for me i had like three that i was like they were jocking for position here but uh i gotta make a decision right so i went with uh 1984’s body double which i like a lot again this may be one of his most obvious homages to hitchcock there’s elements of rear window and vertigo maybe a little bit of dial in for murder here uh basically this is a story about uh a kind of struggling actor who does a lot of b movies and horror movies and things like that that’s the actor craig watson uh but of course he has uh this horrible fear of tight spaces right he’s got severe claustrophobia so like at the beginning of the film he’s he’s playing a vampire role in this film and of course he freaks out a scene that’s being filmed in a coffin so that’s kind of how the whole thing starts uh but you know he gets into an argument with the director uh who of course is played by uh the guy that’s friends what’s that runs yeah he was in all these films right and uh so he winds up you know he’s all upset he’s like ah you know gets into a fight he’s probably gonna leave the film whatever and he’s outside complaining to a bunch of people that he knows who are also working on the film and this this guy happens to be overhearing the whole conversation and he talks to me befriends them they go out for a drink and whatever and you know the guy tells him well you know actually i have this good friend of mine who’s got this great place he’s looking for kind of like a house sitter if you want to make some extra bucks for a couple weeks you know maybe you can come and you can do that just whatever so he’s like sure so he goes to set him up with this and they go to the house and it’s this weird like kind of uh spaceship-like house and you know out in los angeles overlooking this valley or whatever it’s an amazing view and the guy’s like oh you know we one of the perks that comes with the house and he’s got like a telescope he goes check this out so he sets it all up for him and there at this house down in the valley in this real ritzy you know house is this very attractive woman who i guess every night does like a little kind of strip tease in her living room in front of the open window right so of course you know this guy every night goes and watches this woman do the striptease uh and then of course you can kind of see where this is all going and then of course he sees her he’s watching her and he sees someone try to murder her right so then this whole story you know he gets kind of infatuated with this whole situation he goes down to talk to the woman he starts following her and uh that’s that’s actually it’s deborah shelton gorgeous deborah shelton so he goes following her down to the beach right he winds up then she winds up getting he sees this like weird looking indian dude who’s also watching her from close by down at the beach the indians also following her he goes to steal her her handbag her purse and craig watson’s character chases after the indian they go into this little tunnel that connects like the beach with the main street and of course he gets an attack of uh you know claustrophobia right in the middle and again kind of images of vertigo here we here we go all over again uh and then he winds up talking to the deborah shelton character and uh long story short she winds up getting murdered okay he witnesses it he goes to try to save her because of course he’s watching her all the time and then it starts this whole other sequence of events then he gets he finds out about this uh like porn star and he happens to see a video of hers uh and he notices that she dances exactly like the woman that he was watching through the telescope from that from the mansion right so the whole you know long story short as it turns out someone actually paid her to go into that house each and every night to do this dance when the actual lady of the house was not around just so he could see what was going on so as it turns out there’s this whole scheme put together and i think it’s just a really cool kind of like you know at the end you’re fine well who who set it all up who’s the crazy indian how does the the porn star figure out into this whole thing what’s the deal with the white german shepherd all this stuff and a really really cool ending you know a lot of people at the time and critics kind of you know shot this film down because of its like depiction of women not in such a positive light and all that sort of thing but i think if you once you kind of look past it all i think this is a really ingenious film that’s a lot of fun really good camera tricks you know the whole like de palma is famous for doing that you know you’ve got an actor or two actors together and taking the camera and going round and round and round type of thing which he uses quite a bit in this film uh specifically in the scene uh down by the beach or actually in the tunnel i think what it is or just outside outside the tunnel yeah inside the tunnel so uh really good and you know i will say melanie griffith looks amazing in this film and this was her big coming out film this is what really got her on to you know working girl and other big parts um and just really good acting all around great cast uh great score and uh just an all-around fun fun film and when we were getting ready to do this i was not expecting this to be in my top five but when i re-watched it again after not seeing it for a minute because i realized how much i really liked this movie so and it’s classic rear window meets vertigo and uh you know there’s a couple of uh obama uh you know trademarks in there um uh the opening scene with uh him in the coffin reminds me of like the opening of blowout when they’re you know in opening a blowout there’s filming like a teenage murder movie and you don’t realize you’re watching a movie within a movie it’s right this opens the same way yeah of course the the the drill scene is one of the most even touch on that i mean that’s like like one of the sickest de palma murder sequences in in his entire like filmography yeah and uh he goes to hollywood too i think he did he directed the video for frankie goes to hollywood relax don’t do it as well i think so yeah the palmer got asked why did you have to make the drill bit so long he said so it would go through the floor gotta go through the floor right yeah i love that i love the fact to add the tension as he’s coming after with the drill at one point the extension cord is not long enough yeah oh brilliant brilliant oh yeah just you know didn’t the indian think of this you know it uh no it’s classic yeah it’s a good it’s a good fun fun film i think and really well done really well done so that’s my number five all right mike back to you for number four uh my number four and once again it’s going chronological chronologically and not by design just by coincidence uh 1976 carrie this light is so bright uh i mean this is uh this is the one that really put him on the map in hollywood i mean i think this was probably his first real big hit um his first time uh you know working with such a cast i mean john travolta i think was i think he charged involved was only had done like welcome back hotter at this point still in the show yeah the boy boy in the plastic bubble but that was maybe it so this was really devil’s reign let’s not forget the devil’s reign but uh i mean obviously it goes without saying it’s a sissy’s basic uh you know tour de force performance same with piper laurie uh who went on to be in twin peaks which is a soft spot for me but the the supporting cast all the girls they have nancy allen you have amy irving pj soules i mean these were like the classic supporting girls of that time pj souls went out to do halloween and rock and roll high school um but uh you know this to me i i think a lot of people who love carrie probably love the stephen king isms in it they probably love the whole piper laurie story with the with the with the knives flying and the whole supernatural stuff but for me that’s not what makes this film a favor for me for me this is a great time capsule of 1976. you know this is like you watch dazed and confused that’s a 1976 time capsule well this i mean this is really 1976 or technically i guess they shot at 75 but you’re really seeing the fashion the look the cars uh you really feel like you’re in a high school uh in a high school in 1975 1976 so that’s the aspect of this i love i love that i can put this on and it really takes me back to that period and time and that look i mean the prom sequence has been done to death you know i mean first of all this movie’s been remade to death i think there’s like three or four remakes of it but uh even like the prom sequence reminds me if there’s a prom sequence in uh sophia coppola’s virgin suicides which reminds me a little bit of this but and the way that the the prom sequence is shot i mean it’s typical de palma suspense you know he something that normally could probably be shown in a normal hollywood film today within 30 seconds the palmer milks it for a good 10 minutes you know you’re seeing he’ll just show you know rather than just showing the bucket of blood up there he’ll just show the the cord and the rope leading to it then he’ll go up you know up and then he’ll be along the top and then you’ll pull over and you can see the people in the dance in the background then pull down and you’ll see a couple of people underneath the stage i mean he has a way of taking these long tracking shots and milking the suspense and of course once again he got that from hitchcock but i think he’s taking those those those kind of trademarks and taking it to a whole new level so uh and then of course the ending the ending is you know one of those classic jump scares to me uh when i first saw it it scared the crap out of me but it also reminded me the ending of deliverance you know with the hand coming out of the water but uh i mean this is classic it’s classic de palma uh classic 70s uh period piece and time capsule and that’s my number four also think too the whole uh idea and you know the general basis of the movie is all about like bullying and you know what kids have to deal with at school and that’s still so relevant today you know i just watched um i think i just it was either uh an episode of american horror stories or i just watched that uh fear street trilogy that was on netflix and they actually they set up a girl they wanted to you know set her up and then humiliate her and they called a carrie they said we’re going to carry her you know it almost became like a pop culture uh you know adverb yeah crazy yep very cool all right jamie oh [ __ ] that came fast uh number four is going to be that’s what she said [Laughter] she also said blow out i don’t know um you uh mentioned it uh parts of it um but you know what i find funny about this that they uh are doing a movie john travolta is doing the sound effects for a movie and it’s called bordello blood which later became a movie with dennis miller in the 90s and then in uh body double they’re filming vampires kiss which later became a movie with nicholas cage so he was like saying movie titles before they existed and i love them when travolta is walking down the hallways of the movie studio did you ever see the uh fake movie posters on the wall they are so well done they are amazing the foo goose squirm boogeyman the melting man these sound like movies that would be in pete’s collection like on friday night on facebook i see pete watching boogie man so uh i love that um let’s talk about the hitchcock type parts of it you mentioned the spinning that he does in a lot of movies when travolta is when he finds out let me just hold this up when he finds out that all his tapes are erased in the room the camera spins around him and it it feels like chaos like he’s losing his mind going i can’t believe it diploma said it was supposed to represent a real turning and as the uh tape was erased these these directors they do nothing by accident they always have a meaning you may not always catch it but the meaning’s there somewhere and um when the girl is strangled in the airport restroom is very hitchcock you see um what’s his name john lithgow come over and then you see her feet rise from underneath as the camera pans out it’s almost frenzy when the girl gets murdered in the apartment and the camera pans out to the street it pans away you just see her feet and it goes into the regular airport but i i like seeing a young john lithgow in here killing people because it feels like you’re watching the origin of the trinity murder from i don’t know if you guys watch dexter dexter but he’s like a younger trinity in this movie yeah and everyone said that he’d love to do uh split split screens as his signature shot but he also liked to do a face really up close with action going on in the back just saying he got oh yes yes yes i see that in the movie the innocence and i go citizen kane but he said it was a great way to do split screen without actually doing split screen you would see two actions at the same time in the same frame but i like what he does in the beginning of this he adds a twist to it he does it with animals when travolta is taping he’s got his little gun out there and he’s taping sounds out in the forest from a bridge you see an owl really close and you see travolta way in the back and they do it with a frog and you hear the ribbit and he’s taping the ribbit way in the back it’s that [ __ ] that’s really cool to me and um the end the very and when i say the end i’m talking about the last 30 seconds of this movie i’m not going to spoil it because it is too wonderful to spoil i love demented endings that’s why i love the mist the stephen king movie the mist the more demented and wrong the ending the more i like it and this ending is up there and top ten most admitted endings it it almost seems out of character for travolta but then it doesn’t because he wants the girl to maybe live on forever at the same time but watch it and do not walk away until it’s right to the end that’s right yep yeah he’s actually got a lot of really good ending some of these films i think i mean yeah that end the ending the ending of blowout uh that’s what kind of damaged it for him there were a lot of people that were turned off by that ending at the time in theaters and critics i think it’s for those people i think it’s genius it’s a genius ending you want to see and the buildup they’re looking for a certain something and then they find it and then he goes wow yeah it does work who do you know so yeah i’m next that’s me you are okay well uh with mike i’m neck and neck with mike although mike is going chronological and i’m going whatever direction i go i’m going with carrie again i’m going with carrie and what i will add to carry in this is that we’re talking about that split screen focus in front and back our first introduction to william cat’s character in the classroom where they’re talking about his paper he’s in the foreground and carrie is in the background and they’re both in focus whether it says anybody have a comment about his poem she goes beautiful that’s it but that’s also in that situation getting back to what peter said at one point it’s all about teenage angst it’s anxiety um i believe also the situation where you know everyone’s going around like where mike said how he likes to milk the suspense and which is true because de palma loves to screw with the audience he loves to get an emotion out of the audience whether it be tension fear whatever and i find as you’re watching the film and you’re seeing this poor girl who is now you know been brought to the brought to the prom you know out of somebody that cares about her at this point or the boyfriend of somebody who feels guilty about how carrie is treated and you see her having this magical moment she has no idea what’s going on you know that something’s being set up just to screw with her day i tell you when they drop the bucket is my heart just sank i felt so like kind of like kind of like at the end of um blowout it is so heart-wrenching that here’s this girl that finally has it and she’s so caught up in what her her zealot mother is screaming at her and i think it’s just from her standpoint she’s saying everyone will laugh at you and there is the gym teacher who was her only friend laughing in her vision but i don’t think that was the case she was so full of rage of getting back in everybody but this film you know it’s very 70s got soft soft uh soft photography throughout it everything looks kind of dreamlike in it or just hazy or humid um piper you know piper laurie can’t say anything enough about her you know that’s rare at the end of making it as a musical on broadway i believe talk about remakes i don’t know how well it did you know um but i i just like that film because it does capture uh high school hi and it captures if you want to look at daisy’s views who should be kind of like the fun part of getting stoned and driving 90 miles to see like you know zz top or hanging around with a matthew mcconaughey or the guy who’s a local legend this is like the anti high school films this is all about bullying and being nasty and puberty and just you know it makes you sit and look at the mirror and say gee was i that much of a prick when i was a kid you know you know you were hungry so it’s a well done first film adaptation done of a stephen king novel of which stephen king received 2500 for the rights wow which equates to 13 780 in today’s money but he said the fact and the money he’s made since but he was so excited over the fact of somebody actually wanted to buy his stuff you know so he thought that was like i’m surprised he didn’t frame the check but um yeah anything else i’ve got about i wrote down g was it his first book asked stephen king it was also his first book as well yes it was his first book he wrote it in 74 and they opted it like in 75 right away so he was a guy that the story goes about stephen king i mean they were broke and he literally would sit with a small typewriter on his lap they didn’t have a desk and pound out stories to try to sell them but you know overall um no that pretty much covers it and mike covered a lot i had some notes here for myself he he covered most of the things about going to pj souls and nancy allen who eventually became mrs brian de palma yeah um and amy irving amy irving became mrs steven spielberg i think and actually she got onto the film because spielberg and her were together and he asked he asked him to cast her and actually speaking of the casting did you know um carrie was cast at the same casting call as george lucas casting star wars yeah they were sharing a lot of the a lot of the uh the cast members some of these people came over right a lot of them auditioned for star wars didn’t get the gig but the palmer took them for carrie john travolta could have been luke skywalker yeah could have been or uh carrie fisher wait carrie fisher should have been carried mind blown carrie fisher is carrie yeah i don’t think [ __ ] spacex would have worked at princess as princess leia i don’t know i don’t think so no it’s amazing how she was 26 and she looks like she’s 15. yeah yeah she had a very young face yeah i keep i keep seeing like the final scene and all you keep hearing is piper laurie they’re all going to laugh at you they’re all going to laugh at you over and over and over again you like voiceovers to paul yeah yeah absolutely yep cool all right my number four so uh we talked at the top of the hour about how uh you know de palma did a lot of different films right he dabbled in a lot of different genres well none more so than this one the modern day well actually the historical gangster film so i’m gonna go with 1987’s uh the untouchables part of this collection there it is right there all sorts of cool films in this set uh so this is basically the story of uh you know al capone’s rise to uh underworld domination right in chicago uh elliot ness is the young up-and-coming uh you know what was he a police chief or investigator whatever the hell he whatever his title was uh but man what a cast in this film so you’ve got you know he puts together this team to go out and take down capone so he’s got charles martin smith he’s got andy garcia he’s got of course uh sean connery is jim malone right and they go out you know and they’re gonna go out and try and bring down capone they’re gonna go try and get the accountant right who’s gonna you know they finally after all these attempts to try and bring down capone and bust them smuggling this that and the other thing and you know all these places where he’s doing his dirty business uh because of course capone thinks he’s untouchable played by uh the wonderful robert de niro uh but you know and then they find out that uh if they grab the account they can find all the information about tax evasion right so but you know one by one members of capone of of uh of uh eliot ness’s team you know get kind of taken out and you know the whole film is almost like this whole long chase film it’s like you have the the battle between capone and ness and who’s gonna win this battle right then you got the whole court scene in the end i mean there’s just so many great scenes it’s a fast-paced fun movie the scene where they’re in the train station where there’s the big gunfight the train station and the baby carriage going down the steps i mean it’s just absolute classic stuff classic the palm a lot of great camera work in this film uh but for me man it’s it’s all about the acting in this film is just off the charts and it’s just even though uh it’s was made a lot of money this one couple of oscars and things like that this to me is just a great historical gangster film because of course you know al capone legendary figure on the uh chicago underworld the you know the chicago mafia whatever and uh just played so well by de niro who i believe he was nominated for uh academy award supporting role but uh yeah the whole cast is great just a fascinating fascinating film and i’ve seen it so many times so that’s my uh number four sean connery won an award yes he did you did yeah well deserved yes god i can’t believe he’s gone man geez that was his big comeback yeah you know that started all those 90s thrillers and action movies yep yep that was uh de niro’s i mean dinero did uh dinero and de palma’s first films were together with greetings and high moms so this was a bit of a reunion for those guys you know almost 20 years later yeah and so many memorable sequences that the dinero baseball bat sequence incredible uh uh spoiler alert but the scene how sean conner you know sean connery’s uh final scene was uh incredible and shocking and uh the whole staircase which is by the way he wrote de palma ripped that right off of uh battleship it was literally you know it was his homage to that classic sequence but the the odessa stairs yeah but great great choice though and you know funny talking about de niro uh so he you know put on like he was well known in the 80s for like just changing his body to fit the role i mean total method actor i mean from raging bull for instance which was done a few years before uh where he played boxer jake lamotta he i think he put on like 50 or 60 pounds to play you know uh different eras in the life of boxer jake lamotta so he’s really thin and small and then he’s you know he puts on all this weight and he’s you know huge and he did the same thing for this and if you if you know 1987 he did a couple other films before and after he put on so much weight to play al capone and then quickly lost it for other roles where he just looked completely normal so that was you know no big deal to him he just was like he wore silk underwear just because capone wore silk underwear how to do it right gotta look the part gotta all the way down to the underwear i gotta feel the part yeah i said acting yeah they don’t make them like that anymore all right mike back to you all right my uh number three once again coincidentally chronological i went from sisters to carrie and now here we are in 1980 dressed to kill uh and uh once again uh big time uh hitchcockian uh i i would i would liken it most to psycho i think this is kind of like the palma psycho um especially uh spoiler alert but uh you know losing one of the main characters you know very very early in the film which was so shocking yeah and angie dickinson looked so great in this and and when i was a kid um i guess i was 13 when this came out my dad was the biggest angie dickinson fan in the world i mean he had the biggest crush on her loved all her films and i remember he freaked out when this came out because because of the nude scenes in the sex scenes but i don’t think that’s really angie but she really looked uh she was as beautiful as it gets around this period but i remember my dad also uh was also the biggest kubrick fan and i remember dressed to kill and the shining both came out in 1980 and uh for my money two of the best horror films of that year uh but my dad hated both of them he walked out of both of them being loving angie dickinson and loving kubrick he hated both of those films but i ended up i loved them so uh i guess you probably have you ever grown to like them uh i think my dad eventually grew to like him maybe maybe more to the shining less dressed to kill but for me i mean the shining is one of my all-time favorites and this is my number three for the polymer so it’s a favorite as well but uh the suspense in the the museum sequence is unbelievable i mean the tracking shots there’s so much suspense uh you know and then and then after after angie her part of the movie is over then it takes this twist and it goes into a whole other world with all the michael caine stuff and all the psychiatrist stuff and um anyway but i i i technically i love uh so much of the the technical stuff in here and you know to me de palma is so that’s such a big part of his style is the camera work he was such a visual he is such a visual storyteller and to me this is him tapping into his uh his hitchcock uh side at its best because uh the remaining two on my list are not in the hitchcock veins so this was for me for my money’s worth my favorite of his hitchcock films i got so how is that criterion cup you have because that’s like you can’t get that anymore that’s like hard really yeah uh i mean mine’s good too i’ve got uh i’ve got the what is it the shout factory no it’s the mgm but uh which is good but i bet that criteria is well this has a conversation with diploma and no noah bomback great director in his own right who directed the the diploma uh documentary but it also has interviews with nancy allen uh the composer the the shower scene body double uh it’s got a 2001 documentary so yeah as always it’s the criterion is just packed with cool stuff i will say nancy allen was pretty incredible on that film too one of my favorite roles for her it’s got keith gordon who eventually went on without not only playing in christine the lead role in christine stephen king film he also went on to be a director in his own right and he’s a major director on dexter yep who played the kid so he went into directing yep cool all right jamie all right i muted myself can you hear me yeah i got construction going on next to me uh number three it’s gonna be scarface i mean who hasn’t seen this movie we all know what it’s about um you know brian de palma directed this but i would call it an al pacino movie i rewatched it and halfway through the movie i started to think i don’t think there’s a scene in this movie that al pacino is not in and i started to pay attention the second half in the second half and i’m pretty sure there wasn’t in the first half he just chews up it’s a character study of a guy who’s crazy enough to get to the top but too crazy to stay at the top that’s how i take it so let’s talk about the hitchcock moment in this movie i’m going to go back to frenzy again in the same shot in frenzy for about three or four minutes this movie becomes a horror movie with the uh chainsaw part in the bathroom in the shower of course if it’s going to be a hitchcock moment it’s going to involve a shower but before all that before the guy gets it in the head the camera goes out the bathroom window outside you hear the birds chirping it’s a nice sunny day it goes across the street and you see uh tony montana’s buddy he’s in the convertible he’s hitting on chicks manolo stephen bauer yeah beautiful day nobody has an idea of the horror going on 100 feet away from them and it’s kind of like the frenzy scene when the girl is getting murdered and they come out in the streets of london and nobody has any idea of the horrific things going on about a hundred feet away up in the room so um there is a part in this movie though i know it’s a 1983 movie i know it takes place in 1983. but the rise of tony montana um like it’s a montage and they’re playing this song it sounds like it should be in rocky totally i keep waiting for al pacino to start doing one-handed push-ups you know it kind of i wish that it seems it makes it a little dated but speaking of rocky the weird thing about his character is as menacing as he is there is a rocky balboa like charm about him at the same time like when he’s trying to woo michelle pfeiffer in convertible when he puts on the goofy hat yeah goofy hat huh something rocky would do or even in the drug scene the drug deal scene right before the shower he walks in they’re not communicating well he goes you want me to walk out come back in we start over it was just this weird funny charm about him but um and it’s interesting to watch the first half of this movie maybe the first 75 of it uh robert lozia who has the worst cuban accent i ever heard you watch him slowly become terrified of tony to the point where he uh hires assassins to or gets his assassins to try and kill him but i do believe these assassins are ex-stormtroopers because they can’t aim for [ __ ] god damn it so yeah and it’s funny how the hip-hop generation in the 90s and 2000s really gravitated towards this movie i mean if you sold like an ounce of weed in your life you had a scarface poster on your wall in your apartment you were a drug lord wannabe so yeah scarface and i like it more and more the first time i saw it in the 80s i was like every decade i see it i like it more you uh i’m sorry pete go ahead go ahead mike well it’s funny you mentioned the uh the chainsaw scene i i just did a podcast a few days ago it hasn’t aired yet but it was about quentin tarantino films and not only did the palmer lift that chainsaw sequence from hitchcock but tarantino lifted it from de palma because uh think about the ear sequence from uh reservoir dogs basically tarantino did the same exact thing he’s a mr blonde is in there saw hacking off the cop’s ear and then he go he’s walks out it’s the biggest horror ever stuck in the middle with you is playing and then he walks out he has to go back out to his car to get the gasoline to light him on fire so the camera follows him outside of the warehouse suddenly you’re outside you don’t hear stuck in the middle with you anymore you don’t hear the screaming anymore dead silent you hear kids playing in the streets he opens up his car gets the gasoline walks back in and then the music comes back on and it was and directly lifted out of the sequence from scarface so it’s funny that you mentioned that it makes you wonder what’s going on in your neighbor’s houses yeah i don’t know maybe you don’t want to know all right dan hey well i’m glad i’m glad that jamie uh mentioned scarface as a perfect segue into my film coming up as i mentioned already you know so funny uh de palma had butted so many heads with the studio over the ratings of scarface they wanted to give it an x rating for violence and whatever it may be language and the problem was is that he battled back and forth back and forth they didn’t want it to be x because x in those days before social media before twitter before the online internet um the only way to be able to know about a film would be into in printed periodicals as in newspaper ads and of course be shown in multitudes of theaters because there wasn’t cable at that time either but by being rated x many publications would not advertise the film into into the newspaper so you’d never see it it would also be limited in certain chains of theaters and he fought tooth fangirl they brought in marty bregman the producer brought in psychologists to fight the mpaa and he had done subsequently two cuts of the film the original x he took some stuff out it was still axe the third one out it was still x they got it over to an r but de palma said screw it i’m sending out the first one because if one was an x another’s an x and this was an x they made it an r that’s an r2 he released the original cut no one ever said a thing about but that being said he was so burned out and so angry and once again he’s always had a defiant uh relationship with the studio system he’s very independent that because of the success of scarface he obtained a three picture deal with columbia pictures which he had not had a long-term contract but on the other side of coin he set up for revenge because if you thought scarface was bad weight was coming down the pike and that brings us to body dump and body double to me i should say it would be my most favorite film but you know body doubles this is this i like to refer to as like the perfect homage to hitchcock as mike had said earlier um it is also when i was talking about the the separate he loves to put reality and fantasy into films we all know the film is fantasy but that being said give you an example when you’re watching um scarface when they kill frank lopez’s character okay there is a big one of those god-awful in the 70s and 80s i i sublet an apartment in manhattan in the 80s and somebody had put one of these large photographs on the wall of sea of tranquility the moon this was in my living room that i rented i couldn’t take it down so people come visit me and they sell you like the moon you want to go to the moon no i hate this thing you know but people get these large in scarface is this big um palm tree thing once again it’s a fake backdrop when they first are working in scarface when they’re first working in the little cantina you see a poster and then pans down this little dingy cuban greasy spoon in a body double the film starts with a really cheesy backdrop which is fake and then he gets fired from the film he leaves the film or he hasn’t thought he’s been fired yet he leaves the film and there’s another backdrop there they take a photo of and that disappears and he’s saying what’s real in his film what’s fantasy even when craig watson is driving back in body double he had a carte blanche with body double but why is when he’s driving back to his girlfriend’s house to eventually get [ __ ] on he has a big smile on his face and they’re of all things they’re doing one of those cheesy rear projection shots behind him because i think de palma is trying to say that this is an attack on hollywood he’s leaving the world of fakery into the world of reality it’s which is his girlfriend he catches his girlfriend doing something everything is fake the body double is fake then there’s reality there’s barney’s beanery which is a very you know simple bar type of thing and you’ve got houses in the hollywood hills it’s extremes but what is reality even the makeup that the killer wears the indian not to give anything away it’s really not unrevealing you can kind of figure out who it is even years ago i figured out this guy looks very familiar and he’s also horribly scarred you know but there’s a couple of things where he makes he makes aside from the hitchcock rear window aside from vertigo with his claustrophobia the rotoscoping shots which i believe that rotoscoping shot when they’re on the beach together it’s a photograph it’s not the real beach so it has this facade of faker the whole relationship is fake the body double is fake and there’s real um everything everything in the film is just attacks hollywood which that’s why i love it and so the film is not the film is a classic but it’s his greatest assault on the hollywood system and how he was treated and says i’m going to do things on my terms now he does touch upon a number of genres he likes in this film you know he touches upon the gialli film the whole tracking sequence in the in the in the uh mole when he’s following the young lady okay now i’ve never really been able to figure out but her voice is dubbed in that film and why is it dubbed is it going to be like as in by is it a body double is he doing as a homage to italian cinema because italian cinnamon spanish cinnamon are notorious post dubbing their audio and also the the indian character when i saw him it reminded me of if you’ve ever seen the bird with the crystal plumage yep great film the hitman the killer who is reggie nalder at one point who eventually went off to play barlow and salem’s lot on the tv series was horribly scarred he reminded me this looks like reggie nalter and you know so he pays all these homages even the stepping out of the it’s not really the fourth wall when he’s having a secondary closer following attack um he all of a sudden like pictures and phil back on the movie set and like it goes into this weird dimension he’s back on the set and he gets the balls to get back in the coffin and finish the film i it’s just it’s just it’s it’s just it’s just it’s it’s i like to refer to his elegant train wreck because it is so perfectly put together it’s a perfect homage to hitchcock one of my favorite uh films by depalma and he just it’s just it’s just he just uses he pulls out all the stops with this film and sadly enough is in his words he said yep i was given carte blanche during the entire film he goes until he viewed my copy viewed my print and it subsequently lost him the remaining two films on the contract oh wow because it did not do on the box office and here it was uh colombia sorry columbia pictures was owned by pepsi cola or coca-cola company this is a family drink you know it’s a family run state we can’t we can’t have films about sex the last thing about the film which i find is great it is a perfect whereas carrie is a time capsule of 1976 high school america okay um the sequence is a time capsule of the burgeoning growth of mtv with music videos with having the frankie goes to hollywood and at that time which people most people might want to admit was the burgeoning home video porn business you know because number one not only do they have a real porn actress on the tv in the middle of the night named lindy shaw advertising her new movie um in the porn in the porn business in the 80s this is where porn actresses started becoming celebrities people had names it wasn’t just some cheesy cheesy loop you know people like christy canyon or vanessa del rio and think of this i know these because friends of mine told me about them and then again there’s a lot of people in the audience tonight okay you know for a fact and when you went into that video store not blockbuster okay i know many of you will probably stay well you know i went through those saloon doors in the back because i thought that was the western section uh you know yes there’s a whole new meaning of riding cowboy beyond those doors fella but this ain’t the trail you want to be in um so it’s a testament to all of this in the 80s and pop culture in its finest and he took it and he embraced it and he ran with it uh on a bit of trivion it also has once again it has al israel in it al israel is the guy that played toad the chainsaw holding uh colombian he plays the porno director you know in it uh that’s his second appearance he’s also in in carlito’s way as well but the set that is used in the scene where they do the frankie goes to hollywood um video is the same set they use as the disco at the end of fright night when he walks through the door and they go down the steps that’s from fright night it was filmed a year later but it’s very much i i was in the clubs working in the clubs and nightclubs in the 80s i’m you know i i i’m well aware of the culture of all this stuff and it was just kind of weird that you know i got kind of nostalgic a lot about for i don’t know why i got nostalgic about scarface that’s another story but it’s just you know you get nostalgic about the 80s about these things but it’s a very much of an 80s time capsule um it’s his what is what is real what is not real what is fake what is real in the film and you know and it’s just top notch and it’s top performances across the board with everybody in that film so there you go ah another little bit of trivia two barbara crampton actually plays his wife who he catches cheating on him at the beginning of the film barbara crampton of course from reanimator and uh from beyond and all that okay yes yes yeah so oh speaking of which i’m not not to change the stomach but what’s her name uh jennifer salt from sisters she was in the famous tv movie gargoyles gargoyle’s great yeah and she also played she also played john voit’s uh texas girlfriend before he came to new york at midnight cowboy that’s right yeah and she was also uh on the tv show soap back in the 70s as well yes so you know they’ve all had uh you know and i don’t think i think he uses many how many well he uses uh dennis france as the director of france as the director some of his entourage of people that he used in many films but yeah body double i’m glad it’s coming out of criteria and i can only imagine what they’re gonna throw on there because everybody’s still alive they can help me interview everybody it’ll be worth it uh you know there you go cool my number three is uh scarface you know i don’t remember who said it maybe it was mike who said that this is uh not a typical brian de palma film and i agree with with jamie wholeheartedly that this is this is more a al pacino vehicle right this is an al pacino tour de force and perhaps the film uh that started off the whole i’m al pacino i have to scream and shout in every single role that i do going forward right now there’s anything wrong with that because i love when al pacino gets you know big and loud and whatnot you’re out of order you’re out but you know you look at most of the films before this that he did he was a little bit more reserved but everything going forward uh kind of a different story but yeah i mean this is uh got plenty of violence over the top performance from now you got a very young gorgeous michelle pfeiffer here great cast um yeah i don’t know we’ve already said quite a bit about it uh i dig this it’s a great kind of modern day gangster film and again if you’ve if you’ve never seen it uh the original scarface from the 40s right then or the 30s 32 howard hawks yeah uh that’s well worth meaning really good a very uh uh cool little role for uh boris karloff in that film as well and george ranch flipping a nickel that’s right i think the palmer puts his stamp a little bit on that movie here and there the bathtub scene when he does a bird’s eye view of the bathtub and it’s just al pacino and all his friends and wife his best friend and wife is leaving him and you get the sense this is the part of the movie where he becomes alone yeah that’s that’s director doing that true true it’s a film that’s grown stronger over the years yes well financially it’s sat in a lot of critics craws and this and that and he also did he he did scarface he decided to do scarface um he was not attached to the project originally and it was eventually offered to him but he did it because after he had done dress to kill and after he had done blowout and blown out to blow up blow out sorry did not do well in the theaters dress to kill did okay but he was lambasted by the critics he goes i’m not here to get beat up by critics i have to change do something different and that’s why scarface dropped in his lap and he said let’s try this uh he never knew he never thought it would be as big as it was you know but it’s a film that’s grown over the years it’s probably made universal pictures or mca whoever owns the rights to everything as in tony montana’s face and the world is yours whatever it may be all of it has made them billions of dollars not only in you know releasing the film but also in merchandising yeah yeah it’s universal yes i bet you dressed to kill did really good in video rental places because of 40 14 year olds like me who saw the cover and said i’m running this movie and you weren’t old enough to go through the saloon doors jamie going to bed okay get that video from under the couch absolutely all right mike you’re number two all right uh this is this is the only one in my list that falls out of chronological order we had sisters in 73 carrie 76 dressed to kill an 80. and then this my number two jumps ahead into the 90s and speaking of al pacino carlito’s way is my number two as far as i’m concerned this is almost like an unofficial uh uh you know uh not a sequel but it’s almost like an unofficial companion to star scarface you know it’s it’s a very very similar story it’s a gangster story um it’s very much a a time piece uh uh you know the carlito brigante uh is very much like uh like a tony montana and um i i thought this movie was a freaking masterpiece when i saw this in the theaters when it came out i was absolutely floored by it um and i and i i i the sean penn character like he was almost unrecognizable when he came out like with the bald head and playing the the coked out uh lawyer i mean so much of this was just so brilliantly made the the uh the big twist at the end like spoiler alert uh you know the opening shot of the movie here’s the end they pretty much you’re pretty much finding out exactly how this movie is about to end but by the time you get to it two hours two and a half hours later you’ve completely forgotten about that opening scene and i remember when i saw in the theaters benny blanco from the bronx boom and i was like oh [ __ ] i forgot all about that because you go on such a journey for two and two hours two and a half hours uh there’s just so much great stuff in here i mean i love the the pool seat the the pool table sequence and the bar in the bathroom um all of the sequences in in the in the in the nightclub uh with that nightclub that’s set up like a big like a big boat uh you know the the sp when the the brothers are coming after him for the money and he’s hiding out he’s going to try to hide stuff uh the sequence at grand central station at the train station where they’re go he’s going up and down the escalators and they’re coming around the bend and and a lot of that was single shot stuff no cuts i mean that’s nothing it had to have been seriously choreographed uh you know not only was it steadicam and it was beautifully shot but the choreography behind that is incredible and that’s that’s one of the palmer’s things i mean like uh snake eyes you know it’s not one of my favorite obama films but if i had to pick out maybe one of my favorite sequences he’s ever done the opening uh you know 15 minutes or so of snake eyes is just so elaborate and uh so incredibly choreographed but uh yeah the sequence uh at the train station in carlito’s way is one of those all-time great uh diploma sequences uh pacino is amazing i think

The Monster\'s Den: Favorite Brian De Palma Films (w/Mike Portnoy)

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