Episode 128: I’m a dancer, not a swan!

The Overthinkers tackle Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan” with Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis. (Spoilers.)

Matthew Wrather hosts with Natalie Baseman, Mark Lee, and Jordan Stokes to overthink Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan”, starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis. Topics include trashiness, love pitching his mansion in the place of excrement, and why “The Deer Hunter” hung out so long on Wrather’s Netflix queue.

Spoilers for Black Swan.


→ Download Episode 128 (MP3)

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7 Comments on “Episode 128: I’m a dancer, not a swan!”

  1. cat #

    The last ballet I saw was probably The Nutcracker which must have been around the one or two years when I actually took ballet lessons so…a long, long time ago. I did want to see the recent production of Sleeping Beauty because the costumes and set photos just looked gorgeous but I was out of the country. So yes, most of my experiences viewing ballet have been on film.

    Random sidenote: I just took a look at Natalie Portman’s imdb page. It seems like it would be very difficult to use the titles for her films in conversation but maybe that’s just my lack of imagination.

    The end of the podcast made me a little sad because I wanted to hear more from Jordan. Maybe he’ll be on a future episode of the TFT podcast?


  2. Redem #

    A billboard advertising the Room was on forever too


  3. Chris #

    I’ve never had a Netflix movie sit around for more than a week or so, but I have had a few movies on my queue for years. The most notable one would probably be Tootsie. It’s considered a classic and everything, but Netflix’s rating system presumes I won’t like it for some reason. Generally speaking, when I’ve watched a movie Netflix assumes I won’t, they’ve been correct, so that makes me reticent.

    I’ve never seen a ballet, but I have seen the episode of The Simpsons where Marge befriends Ruth Powers and they go see a ballet in a school gymnasium.

    I have not seen a Darren Aronofsky film since watching the thoroughly unpleasant director’s cut of Requiem for a Dream.


  4. Gab #

    When it comes to behind-the-scenes films, I would have piped in with Christopher Guest’s body of mocumentaries. You’ve seen at least This Is Spinal Tap, right? I haven’t seen Black Swan, but I’d love to hear a comparison of that to, say, Best In Show. But I think the seething underbelly of college admissions offices would be awesome to explore.

    There was a pretty good piece on Cinematical/Moviephone comparing the changes the “ballerinas” underwent versus the way Christian Bale keeps taking on roles that require him to either drop a bunch or pump up.

    The movie I had sitting on my desk forever was Titus. I had it for over three months. And when I tried to play it, the disc was actually disc number two. So I filled out the complaint form or whatever, and Netflix told me that they no longer have disc one in stock. As such, I still haven’t even seen it yet. Now I’ve had Tron collecting dust- watched, mind you, so as to gear up for Legacy– and I’m kind of putting off getting Empire of the Sun.

    Natalie Portman actually used to take ballet classes, so it makes sense that she would be convincing.

    I think Wrather was channeling Fenzel quite a bit. Talking about ten things at once, giving Lee a hard time…


  5. Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. #

    Where’s Fenzel? And kudos to Ms. Baseman, who I normally find unbearable. Her voice was not grating and she added relevant, interesting content this week. Sorry if that sound condescending.

    I also recall ballet on the Simpsons, and Mr. Lee should expect to pay big money to see the bears driving the little cars.

    Mr. Wrather’s comment on a life’s work making its mark on the body reminds me of that friggin Bones show where Doc Brennan can always tell the profession of a cadaver. In the last episode, she accurately deduced that a dead women was a surgeon because some hand thing showed the use of hand tools. I get a bit skeptical of this, but back to the topic, don’t web developers all have bad eyes, flat butts and carpal tunnel syndrome?


  6. Jason Storck #

    Did Ms. Baseman really respond to the question about whether she liked punk music with “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.” Hilarious.


  7. Wade #

    In regard to Darren Aronofsky and his fascination with dancers’ bodies, I agree that Black Swan really feels like a companion piece to The Wrestler. Both films take a long, hard look at what these people are willing to do to their bodies for the sake of their craft. Nina risks broken ankles to achieve the perfect performance; Randy the Ram allows himself to get the business end of a staple gun (among other things) to get the fans riled up.

    And I think Mark was on to something with this being a theme Aronofsky seems naturally drawn to. His past films, in one way or another, all deal with people undergoing immense physical and psychological tortures in order to transcend themselves in one way or another. In Pi, it’s all about achieving intellectual perfection, Requiem for a Dream deals with (*ahem*) “chemical perfection”, and The Fountain deals with destroying the mind and body in the search for immortality.

    It almost makes perfect sense that Aronofsky’s been tapped to direct Wolverine 2. In terms of body horror, what’s more compelling than a regenerative body with a metal skeleton?

    Also, the last Netflix DVD I had before downgrading to the streaming-only plan was “Redacted” (a Brian de Palma film, oddly enough). It sat on my desk for the better part of four months before I finally watched it and realized that was four months of Netflix that could have been used for subtler, more life-affirming fare.


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