Author Archives: Seija

Episode 9: A Devouring Organism Aptly Named for the Goddess of Love

Joseph L. Mankiewicz Tribute



Hey Listeners!  Do you ever find yourselves with a pesky bit of life drama, like say you think a family member might be gay but you can’t deal with it because you live in 1937?  GET A LOBOTOMY!

Or how about your mom and brother are poor and your rich aunt offers to pay them 100,000 dollars if they commit you to a mental institution against your will?  GET A LOBOTOMY!

Are you tired of living on nothing but pills and salads?  GET A LOBOTOMY!

Or maybe you’ve heard that a sharp knife in the mind kills the devil in the soul, and you’d like to test that theory out on yourself?  You know the solution, folks!

We discuss all these scenarios and so many more on Episode 9, in which the 1959 film “Suddenly, Last Summer”  leads us down a twisted path festooned with primordial vines and the debris of broken Southern families.


Episode 6: I <3 U, Boo.

But what about love?!?!?

And we’re back!  We’ve been away for a while, enjoying various summer activities, but now we’re entering the bleak, dark, drippy days of fall and winter… known to the enlightened as MOVIE WATCHING SEASON!!!   But did you guys know, if you worked on an underwater oil rig in the 1980s, you didn’t have the technology to watch movies?  No ma’am, all you had were your two thumbs, your pet rat, and a whole lotta deep ocean between you and blessed land.   It almost seemed exciting to go on a rescue mission to a wrecked submarine; too bad everyone on it is DEAD and you gotta take a big ole WARHEAD back to your rig, which up until this point was full of ex-hippie pacifists who just wanna make an honest wage!  Oh, and just when you thought things couldn’t get any crazier, some super-intelligent alien non-aliens show up that look like what your box fan would turn into if you were tripping REAL HARD.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to…THE ABYSS!

The Scene I Can’t Watch

Hey y’all!  We’re almost ready to unveil podcast #6 for your listening pleasure!  I think it’s a great episode.  Don’t hold your breath until we release it, though.  You’ll DIE.  UNLESS!  Unless you trust us to resuscitate you.  I was CPR certified in, like, 2001.  God that class was boring.  Speaking of deep-sea resuscitation, take a look at the scene from THE ABYSS that I cannot watch without experiencing extreme anxiety.  This shit is horrible:

Check back soon for Episode 6!


Episode 5: Unions and the Role of Ethics in the Industrial Revolution

Please enjoy our 5th episode!  The subject: a film that I’ve seen between 50 and 70 times, and that Natalie has seen only once: NEWSIES.  Featuring special call-in guest Sarah Carter and special musical guest Donnie B.

“How ’bout a crooked politician?”
“Hey stupid, that ain’t news no more!!”

Zing Zing Zing Went My Heartstrings!

“Someday you’ll learn that greatness is only the seizing of opportunity – clutching with your bare hands ’til the knuckles show white.”

"The first time a horse touched me here, I knew I would never love a human man."

Sometimes I just want to watch a comforting movie. Not often, but if I’m at home doing an art project or feeling sick, I go for the familiarity of a movie from my childhood. Recently I rewatched National Velvet, the 1944 film starring Elizabeth Taylor, Mickey Rooney and Angela Lansbury. I used to watch this all the time, and now I remember why. It’s almost painfully honest, morally refreshing, and surprisingly modern in its portrayal of family relationships and female ambition.
“National Velvet” was Elizabeth Taylor’s fifth film; she was only twelve when she played Velvet Brown, and her acting hadn’t quiiiite matured beyond so-earnest-it-hurts-your-teeth levels. Of course, her beauty was already otherworldly, and knowing the same actress would soon be such an insane sex goddess just a few years later is kind of a mindfuck.
The real draw here is the supporting cast, especially Anne Revere as Velvet’s mother, AKA my favorite movie mother EVER.  Revere won a best supporting actress Oscar for her portrayal of Mrs. Brown, an original and complex character who you kind of wish the movie was entirely about.  Talk about a missed opportunity for a prequel (though they wisely didn’t do many of those in the 40’s): in the film, Mrs. Brown is the first woman to swim the English Channel, and she has saved her prize money to give to her children.  When Velvet approaches her to ask if she can race her horse in the Grand National, instead of telling her what a silly idea that is, Mrs. Brown delivers this impossibly wise and heart-wrenching speech:

“We’re alike. I, too, believe that everyone should have a chance at a breathtaking piece of folly once in his life. I was twenty when they said a woman couldn’t swim the Channel. You’re twelve; you think a horse of yours can win the Grand National. Your dream has come early; but remember, Velvet, it will have to last you all the rest of your life.”

"It's extra hard to be a badass when you're born with a vagina, Velvet."

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!  BEST MOM EVER!  “Breathtaking piece of folly” is sheer brilliance.  I love how she expects her daughter to understand the emotional complexities of having an impossible dream that will probably not come true, but chasing it anyway.

And speaking of emotional complexity, Anne Revere was one of the actors whose career was pretty much ruined by her refusal to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1951.  She resigned from the board of the Screen Actors Guild and didn’t appear in another film for 20 years (thanks, Wikipedia).  What a waste!

I wasn’t one of those horse girls when I was young, though I did go riding every summer at the Oregon coast (riding a horse on the beach is pretty majestic, and anyone who says otherwise just hasn’t developed a taste for majesty) and obviously watched this movie on a regular basis.  But you know how when you’re a kid, you either ARE a horse person or you KNOW a horse person?  I had this really good friend who was ALL ABOUT HORSES.  It was probably the first time in my life when I felt like I couldn’t make fun of one of my friends (in a nice way!) because their interest was so fierce, so it just felt wrong to be like, “oh, what’s on your sweatshirt?  Another horse?”

Nearly impossible to wear without irony.

What I’m saying is that any bias about horse lovers or kids movies should absolutely not keep you from watching National Velvet.  Especially if you’re in need of a little heart warming.  This movie will toast your heart until it’s cozy and crispy.


Episode 4: Desert Braids

We’re back!  On this episode of Emerson vs. Cook, we take you on a mystical pilgrimage to the heart of Egypt with our discussion of the film “Passion in the Desert.”  What unites man and beast, and what will tear them apart?  Colonialism?  Patriarchy?  Infidelity?  ALL THREE!?!?!?


Episode 3: Why We Hate Nachos*

For our third podcast, we thought it would be a good idea to strap on our headlights and go spelunking… deep into the caves of our collectively forgotten dreams.  So we made up some questions that mostly have to do with movies and asked them to each other.  Our cleverest listeners may have already sussed out some facts about us, such as my abiding love of horror films and Natalie’s uncanny ability to impersonate Nic Cage vomiting.  But do you know what movies we would take with us to a deserted island?  Or how about what movies we don’t think we could watch a second time?  We’ll regale you with stories of sitting through sex scenes with our parents, and I’ll give my one-word review of the movie Fish Tank.  If all that doesn’t whet your appetite, we also manage to drop more F-bombs than ever before in response to several thousand fan letters we received demanding a more “gritty” feel.  As always, thanks for listening!

*We actually love nachos.

Fact Checking

As you may have noticed, we play pretty fast and loose with facts here at EmersonvsCook. So after listening to the Nic Cage podcast, I decided to do a bit of sleuthing to verify these absolutely useless celebrity factoids that vie for space in my brain with this kitten:

So I just spent some time skaggin’ around Val Kilmer’s MySpace page, where you can see pictures of his treehouse, read his blog (last update: July 2011) and see how much he cares about animals and environmentalism (what a guy!)

Also confirmed is the name of Nic Cage’s son.

It’s pretty hard to stay on point with that narcoleptic kitten up there, but maybe you guys will help me test out one of the features of this website I’m most excited about… POLLS!  Whenever I see a poll, I HAVE to vote, even if I don’t care about the subject.  But we can have fun with this one.  It’s simple: what’s your favorite Nic Cage movie?  If it’s not listed in the choices, it’s not an acceptable answer.  Sorry.  Get your own blog. 

Out of the following, what's your favorite Nic Cage movie?

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Klaus Kinski and Nicolas Cage: The Greatest Insane Actors of All Time

There’s something a little different about two of my favorite actors. In their worst performances (of which there are MANY) they are easily dismissed as hacks. But they have both starred in some of the best movies ever, not to mention some of the most re-watchable and outrageous cult classics ever filmed.

Before his death in 1991, Klaus Kinski acted in over 135 films. His complete filmography is famously approximate, because he simply didn’t care about most of the movies he was in. To me, there’s something refreshingly utilitarian about the idea of being a celebrity that treats a role like any old job. But I don’t think there was anything particularly humble about him in reality (all you have to do to get your mind thoroughly blown is read his “autobiography,” Kinski Uncut, a masterpiece of lunatic hubris).
Kinski is most famous for his starring roles in Aguerre: The Wrath of God, Nosferatu, Fitzcarraldo, and some lesser known movies made in the 70’s and 80’s with director Werner Herzog.  Herzog made a fantastic documentary about Kinski in 1999 called My Best Fiend, chronicling their work together over the years. Anyone who’s ever tried to collaborate with eccentrics (*ahem*) can sympathize with how hard it must have been to get even one film made with Kinski. Here they are on the set of Fitzcarraldo, in the Amazon, surrounded by indigenous nonactors, watching the shit hit the fan:

If you’ve never seen a Herzog/Kinski film, I would suggest starting with Aguerre.  It’s the gold standard for Kinski’s other performances as a deranged megalomaniac, and Herzog captures some of the most gorgeous, ominous man-vs-nature footage you’ll ever see.  Also, while on set, Kinski tried to stab another actor in the head with a sword, but the dude was wearing a metal helmet, so he survived.

All this brings me to my next subject, the widely reviled and misunderstood Nicolas Cage.  At age 48, Cage has already appeared in 64 films.  Do the math (I tried…) and you’ll see that at this rate, Cage could almost match Kinski’s average films per year if he lives to be 65.  I won’t make you wait any longer for this gem, “Nicolas Cage Losing His Shit.”

Like Kinski, Cage can be both handsome and decrepit, smooth and out of control.  But it doesn’t seem like he quite has a handle on when those things will happen.  Some of my favorite movies of his are Wild at Heart, Moonstruck and Con Air, a random handful of genres if there ever was one.  Lately, he’s fallen prey to some weird hair and face disasters, but I have faith that those will only serve his career in unexpected ways, as long as he keeps lucking out on really good scripts like Bad Lieutenant (directed by Werner Herzog!  We have come full circle) sandwiched between unrepentant crap like Season of the Witch (Ron Perelman’s actual dialogue while they’re locked up in a medieval dungeon: “let’s get out of here, man.”) to pay the bills on his sweet pyramid tomb in New Orleans. Yep.




Welcome to HELL

You may be asking yourself, why should I listen to this podcast? I know all there is to know about movies, humor, fun, excitement and joy. WRONG! Be prepared to be transported to a realm of fresh awesomeness, hosted by two wacky ladies in their late 70s who love all things movies! Get ready for 17 minutes of straight cackling and 3 minutes of inaccurate content! Our first podcast focuses on evil children in film, loosely anchored by a dynamic scene reading from a true classic, The Bad Seed. Here’s the trailer:

We hope you enjoy our first podcast. Stick around for our next episode!