Episode 114: Pareto-Superior Exchange

The Overthinkers tackle The American, Machete, exploitation, economics, and Labor.

Matthew Wrather hosts with Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, and John Perich to overthink The American, Machete, exploitation, economics, and labor.


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10 Comments on “Episode 114: Pareto-Superior Exchange”

    • inmate #

      If Canada is America’s Hat, Mexico is America’s Pants.


  1. lee OTI Staff #

    Here’s something we didn’t talk about on the podcast re: Machete: in the movie, how many different variations are there on the pronunciation of the word “machete”? Do the good guys pronounce it with the appropriate Spanish inflection (“ma-shet-tay”), while the bad guy gringos all say “ma-shet-tee”?

    I noticed we used 3 variations during the podcast:

    1) the straight gringo version (“ma-shet-tee”)
    2) a Spanglified version with the “ay” sound at the end but without the strong Spanish “t” sound in the middle
    3) the fully Spanish-ified version

    Also, I haven’t yet made up my mind if I’m going to see this. Is it safe to say that if I liked Planet Terror that I’d like Machete?


  2. Mike #

    So by your definition of “-sploitation” films… Is Avatar Greensploitation?


    • Timothy J Swann #

      And BSG: The Plan Cylonsploitation, given it’s just pandering to the skinjob audience…?


  3. Chris #

    Re: Film Noir

    For starters, I don’t really like the phrase “film noir” simply because I think it falls into a category of words and phrases so broadly and incompletely defined that they cease to have any real meaning. At its core, considering the fact the name translates to “black film” it should probably have been simply defined as “dark movies.” Alas, people try and put the tropes common to dark movies into the definition and then things became a mess. As somebody who took multiple classes on “film noir” I feel confident in that statement.

    As for Fenzel’s discussion of “dark,” I do think that both definitions he provided could fall under the umbrella of dark, with one category I’d call “bleak” and another I’d call “brutal.” Though, of course, a movie can always be both, and to be honest it’d be mighty hard for a movie to be brutal and not bleak, and even movies I would just consider bleak have their moments of brutality. The American, it would seem, falls into the category of bleak. If I were to offer up a rough example, I’d say Raging Bull is bleak, while Taxi Driver is brutal.

    However, regardless of differences in classification of the movies themselves, I disagree with the point Fenzel made about Humphrey Bogart’s films, and often films in a similar ilk. He doesn’t “not care” in these films. To the contrary, a point is made in movies such as The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca that he does indeed care. Now, in both of those films he feigns indifference and in neither film would he be considered an upstanding citizen, but he’s on the just side of things in his films more often than not.

    Also, it is Truffaut who said that quote regarding war films.


    • Chris #

      I realize now that I may not have expressed my issue with the definition of words or phrases such as “film noir” correctly. I used the word “broadly” which could be construed as me saying that the definition of film noir isn’t complex enough to be meaningful. In fact, what I meant was that the definition is far too complex. So many things have been ascribed to its definition that it is practically impossible at this point for something to mean all the qualifications. Additionally, this in part leads to people defining the phrase differently, which is of course not something that works in a semantic sense.


  4. Pasteur #

    On the topic of faux-trailers evoking discoveries of genuine cinema, I can’t wait to see Satan’s Alley.


  5. Gab #

    Deathscythe. Call me Deathscythe.

    I’m surprised nobody just came out and called Machete a Mexploitation film. Was it too obvious?

    I’m piggybacking Fenzel here: One of the misinterpretations of utilitarianism is that it’s all about personal gain and financial well-being; but Mill, the guy that literally wrote the book, defined utility itself in a much broader sense of the word. The Greatest Happiness Principle isn’t about money, it’s about general comfort and, well, happiness, and it’s meant to apply globally, not individually- what action would cause the most pleasure to permeate society? His global citizen is supposed to take every other citizen of the world into account when they do things each day; they can limit their scope if they know for certain their actions won’t touch others, but generally, everything a person does has a ripple effect, even if barely noticeable on the other side of the world, because we’re all humans and sharing the same space. So, when doing things, a person should compare what they’d give up to what society as a whole would gain if some sort of self-sacrifice is involved. And this can be metaphysical, too, when things like ethics and morals are involved (like the harm stealing a candy bar and not getting caught does to the principle of the law). So, in the words of a wise king (in a rather lame, straight-to-video sequel), “We are more than we are, we are one.” ::end rant::


  6. Phil Groff #

    Interesting that you used Shakespeare in your list of reasons why we can’t rely on the market to always produce the best art. Let’s not forget (or should that be “well actually”) that in their original context Shakespeare’s plays were very much art produced by the market.


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