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New Podcast! Scannain Podcast (2019) #22!

It’s time for the Scannain podcast!

This week, I join Jay CoyleGrace Duffy and Luke Dunne from Film in Dublin to discuss what we watched, the week in film news, the top ten and the new releases.

What We Watched

The Week in Film News

The top ten:

  1. Paw Patrol Mighty Pups
  2. The Hustle
  3. Avengers: Endgame
  4. John Wick: Chapter III – Parabellum
  5. Ma
  6. Detective Pikachu
  7. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
  8. Rocketman
  9. The Secret Lives of Pets II
  10. Aladdin

New releases:

You can listen to the podcast directly here.

Note: Due to unforeseen technical issues, the audio quality is a little rougher this week than usual, and there was some audio lost towards the end of the conversation – including the discussion of Late Night.

Non-Review Review: Papi Chulo

This film was seen as part of the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival 2019. Given the high volumes of films being shown and the number of reviews to be written, these may end up being a bit shorter than usual reviews.

Papi Chulo has a very narrow line to walk.

At its core, Papi Chulo is a very old-fashioned opposites-ultimately-attract buddy comedy. In keeping with the conventions of the genre, the central duo crosses racial and class divides. It is the story of a burnt-out Los Angeles weatherman who hires a Mexican day labourer to (ostensibly) paint his patio deck. Despite the fact that the two are from very different worlds and literally speak different languages, an unlikely bond develops between the two. This is a fairly standard set-up, and an old feel-good Hollywood standard. Indeed, Green Book employed the formula to considerable awards-season success, demonstrating that the template endures.

Peak happiness.

As such, Papi Chulo comes a fascinating premise, but a loaded one. Indeed, the Green Book comparison is something of a double-edged sword. The decision to position an immigrant day labourer as one half of the mismatched couple at the centre of Papi Chulo gives the movie a lot of political weight in the current cultural climate. It would be impossible for a movie about an unlikely friendship between a white man and a Mexican in modern California that crosses class divides not to resonate with everything else happening in the world around it. In fact, given the popularity of this sort of template for exploring issues of race and class in America, it is surprising that there have been so few movies along these lines. It is also surprising that this movie comes from an Irish director.

To be fair to Papi Chulo, the movie always seems aware of how deeply awkward it is for a rich white person to hire a day labourer to (in effect) be his friend. That power imbalance and privilege is always lurking off-screen, and the film is never particularly ambiguous in its assessment of Sean’s behaviour; the weatherman is not working through his issues in a healthy way, but imposing himself on Ernesto. However, these issues never come to the fore, and are only fleetingly acknowledged over the course of the film. This works well enough when the film can count on the unlikely chemistry between Matt Bomer and Alejandro Patino to carry the first half of the film, but it doesn’t really work when the film makes a conscious choice to separate the duo in the second half.

Snap chat.

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